Crash that injured seven people sends Italian national home
ENRICO Pancher had plans to spend his Australian working holiday picking bananas near Cairns.
Instead, the Italian national will board a plane home this Saturday, in a wheelchair with multiple broken bones.
Yesterday Pancher pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention.
He told Magistrate Ross Risson he had no memory of the Bruce Hwy crash that left him with an arm fractured in three places and a broken ankle.
The court heard Pancher's three passengers were asleep when he crossed double white lines and collided with another car near Chelona on May 10.
The police prosecutor read a witness statement which said Pancher had been seen to "lean over" in the lead-up to the crash.
"One witness said she saw the defendant's vehicle ... (and) observed it to cross continuous white lines and overtake in a dangerous manner," the police prosecutor said.
The court heard at least one other motorist had been forced to "veer off the roadway to avoid a head-on".
The four Italians had been driving from Rockhampton to Cairns.
Seven people were taken to Mackay Base Hospital after the crash, including two children, aged 18 months old and three years old.
No one had life threatening injuries, however, both Pancher and the other driver were entrapped following the crash.
It took Queensland Fire and Rescue Service personnel about 40 minutes to free them.
Outside the Mackay Courthouse, Pancher said he had attempted to make contact with the driver of the other car to apologise.
"I'm really sorry to the other driver, the family and also the child," he said.
Magistrate Ross Risson said Pancher had placed himself and others "at serious risk of injury".
"You, of course, have suffered from injury yourself," he told Pancher.
Pancher was fined $600 and disqualified from holding a licence for three months.
RAAG STUMPED BY TOURISTS
THE Road Accident Action Group is stumped over how to prevent foreign tourists causing crashes on the region's roads.
Safety co-ordinator Graeme Ransley said while foreign nationals contributed to only about 2% of serious crashes, communication issues meant it was a tough problem to tackle.
"They have no comprehension of the distances and the driving circumstances in Australia," he said.
In November last year, a Japanese tourist died while driving south from Cairns. Police have said fatigue was believed to be a factor.