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Monday, December 05, 2016

Truck driver's passenger charged over fatal crash on Swanport Bridge

... www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-17/truck-drivers-passenger-charged.../6628680 Jul 16, 2015 - A truck driver's passenger has been charged over a fatal collision near Murray Bridge in Adelaide last month after the court heard she was in the cabin. Belinda Thornton, a 30-year-old woman from Victoria, was a passenger in a B-double truck driven by Kenneth Lawrence Pillar, 54 ... Brief court appearance for truck driver's passenger charged over fatal ... www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-18/passenger-truck...bridge-fatal...court/6786712 Sep 17, 2015 - A truck driver's passenger appears briefly in court for the first time, ... Driver charged over night time fatal smash on the Swanport Bridge ... Swanport Bridge fatal smash: Victorian truck driver pleads not guilty in ... www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-21/murray-bridge-fatal-smash-driver.../6792220 Sep 20, 2015 - A Victorian truck driver will go on trial after pleading not guilty to dangerous driving over a fatal crash at Murray Bridge in South Australia, while ... Truck driver distracted with girlfriend in cabin at time of Murray Bridge ... www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-05/truck-driver-distracted-with...in.../8093196 11 hours ago - Members of the District Court will inspect the site at Swanport Bridge on Tuesday for up to an hour from 11:00am, with lengthy traffic delays ... Truck driver distracted with girlfriend in cabin at time of Murray Bridge fatal accident, prosecution says By court reporter Rebecca Opie Updated about 11 hours ago Kenneth Laurence Pillar and his girlfriend Belinda Thornton outside court. PHOTO: Kenneth Laurence Pillar and Belinda Thornton were both in the truck's cabin. (ABC News: Candice Prosser, file) RELATED STORY: Truck driver's coughing fit again disrupts court hearing about fatal crash MAP: Murray Bridge 5253 A truck driver charged over a fatal crash at Murray Bridge in 2015 "made up" that he had a coughing fit and blacked out at the time of the collision, the prosecution has alleged in the Adelaide District Court. Kenneth Lawrence Pillar, 55, has gone on trial after pleading not guilty to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. The Victorian truck driver was driving a semi-trailer that veered onto the wrong side of the Swanport Bridge on June 16 last year, colliding head on with a car driven by 61-year-old Maria Dowdell. Ms Dowdell was a home economics teacher at Grant High School in Mount Gambier. In his opening address, prosecutor Patrick Hill told the court Pillar had recently separated from his wife and had his new girlfriend Belinda Lee Thornton, 31, in the cabin and was distracted at the time of the crash. "The prosecution says whatever was going on in that cabin, Pillar was not paying attention," he said. The court heard Pillar was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Mr Hill said claims by the accused that he had had a coughing fit and blacked out were psychogenic. "On the prosecution's case this is something that Pillar has made up to escape responsibility for Ms Dowdell's death," he said. Coughing fits staged at police station The court heard that during police interviews after the crash, Pillar said he did not know what had happened but that his girlfriend told him he had a coughing fit and appeared to lose consciousness. But it heard Thornton had told police in her initial interviews she did not know what had happened. Mr Hill said Thornton "later picked up on the lie" and changed her story, telling police in secondary interviews Pillar had had a coughing fit. He said the pair had later staged a coughing fit at a police station. "On the Crown's case this was put on by Thornton and Pillar to bolster their claim," he said. "The coughing and blackouts have been made up and are not supported by medical evidence." The court also heard the details of a phone call made by Pillar to Thornton while he was in custody. "Stories don't change ever," Pillar said. "I've talked about this. I'll wait in jail and if the stories change, you'll be with me. "The stories don't change." The jury was warned that Pillar would be seen to close his eyes and put his head back in the dock during the trial, at which point proceedings would pause. Mr Hill paused four times during his opening address. Members of the District Court will inspect the site at Swanport Bridge on Tuesday for up to an hour from 11:00am, with lengthy traffic delays expected. Drivers of B-double trucks have been advised they will not be able to travel through the town of Murray Bridge as a detour. Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, disasters-and-accidents, murray-bridge-5253, adelaide-5000, sa

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