The trucking company involved in the Eastern Freeway crash that killed four police officers has been hit with fresh charges over the tragic incident.
Senior Constables Lynette Taylor, Kevin King and Constables Glen Humphris and Joshua Prestney all died when a semi-trailer being driven by Mohinder Singh ploughed into them during a traffic stop in Kew on April 22, 2020.
Three senior managers and the company, Connect Logistics, were on Tuesday hit with charges by Victoria Police and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
The owner and managing director, national operations manager and state manager, along with the transport operator based in Riverstone NSW, were charged with category one and two offences under Heavy Vehicle National Law.
The charges are the most serious available under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
A 51-year old man from Kenthurst, NSW, a 47-year old man from Glenwood, NSW, and a 52-year old man from Labrador, Queensland, are all due to face Parramatta Local Court on September 28.
The regulator’s Director of Prosecutions, Belinda Hughes, said the charges had been laid after multiple and critical breaches were identified.
“These charges stem from an extensive interstate investigation by Victoria Police into the actions of the transport operator, its executive and its employees,” Ms Hughes said.
Camera IconMohinder Singh, the truck driver behind the wheel who ploughed into the four officers. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia
“This tragedy is a sobering reminder of the consequences that can occur when there is a failure to ensure safe transport activities.”
The charges were laid after an 18-month investigation, called Taskforce Paragon, which was led by Victoria Police detectives.
Category one offences carry a maximum penalty of $300,000 and/or five years jail for an individual and $3m for a corporation.
Category two offences carry a maximum penalty of $150,000 for an individual and $1.5m for a corporation.
Singh’s former boss, Simiona Tuteru, has already been charged with more than 70 offences in relation to the fatal incident.
Camera IconSimiona Tuteru, the Connect Logistics manager who is facing charges over the Eastern Freeway Porsche tragedy. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia
The most serious are four counts of manslaughter by criminal negligence in relation to the deaths of the officers.
Police allege the 50-year-old Connect Logistics boss should never have allowed his employee to get behind the wheel on the day of the crash because of his fatigue.
Mr Tuteru has pleaded not guilty and is set to face trial in the Supreme Court.
Singh was jailed for 22 years over the crash after he pleaded guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death and admitted he was sleep-deprived and drug affected when he ploughed into the officers.
Richard Pusey, the Porsche driver the officers pulled over for speeding in the lead-up to the crash, was sentenced to 10 months jail after pleading guilty to outraging public decency and other offences.
Pusey is back behind bars on remand over a separate incident after being arrested for allegedly assaulting police and stalking last week.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir, said the force wouldn’t hesitate to hold all of those responsible for road trauma to account.
“Our partnership with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator demonstrates our ongoing commitment to working with all road safety partners in making our roads safer for all Victorians,” he said.Internet Explorer Channel Network