Truck that crashed into McDonald was ‘overloaded’

Admon Romel’s truck was overloaded.A truck that crashed into the Fairy Meadow McDonald’s restaurant in 2006, injuring 13 people, was overloaded, a judge has ruled.Wollongong District Court Judge Paul Conlon delivered his judgment on the truck’s weight yesterday during a sentencing hearing for the truck’s driver, Admon Romel.Defence barrister Constantine Miralis had argued that one of the scales used to weigh the truck and load at the crash scene was overdue to be verified, and its reading should have been disregarded.However, there was evidence the scales were verified as working correctly about a month after the 2006 crash.”There is nothing to satisfy the court that the (scales) were working anything other than correctly on December 14,” Judge Conlon said.Romel’s truck and load weighed about 15 tonnes when it should have weighed no more than 11.5 tonnes.”There is a certain lack of precision concerning the weight,” Judge Conlon said. “I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt as to the precise weight, but (the evidence) does satisfy me beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender’s vehicle was overloaded to a not insignificant degree.”The judgment was part of Romel’s sentencing proceedings after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and bodily harm caused by wilful neglect.The 22-year-old told the court yesterday he did not see either of the two safety ramps on Mt Ousley Rd as he sped towards them.He said when he realised the brakes were not working, he pulled into the right lane to avoid crashing into the back of other trucks.As he approached the bottom of the hill, he said he did not see the safety ramp sign. Instead, he was focused on a sign showing the freeway turning sharply to the right.The Bonnyrigg Heights driver said he feared the Ford Louisville 7000 series would tip over if he continued on to the right. Instead, he drove straight ahead, exiting the freeway because he said the road appeared to rise slightly and he thought it would slow the truck down.”Under the circumstances I was in, I wasn’t aware of any of the safety ramps,” he said. “I was trying to slow the truck down.”Judge Conlon said a prudent truck driver would have been on the lookout for a safety ramp sign on a road as steep as Mt Ousley Rd.”I find it quite amazing that he wouldn’t have been able to see that huge sign that’s on the side of the road,” he said.Romel’s case has been adjourned until December 12 so a psychologist’s report can be prepared. The defence also requested a sentencing options report into alternatives to fulltime imprisonment.
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Tait ready to face his home side

Kiwi Lindsay Tait. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERHome is where the heart is, but proud Kiwi Lindsay Tait will be doing everything he can to conquer the New Zealand Breakers when he lines up for Wollongong in their NBL season-opener across the Tasman tonight.Tait (left) spent three years with the Breakers before eventually shifting to Wollongong at the start of last season.But a shoulder injury wrecked his campaign after a handful of games and he is on a mission to make up for lost time.The New Zealand Tall Blacks’ starting point guard always enjoys clashing with his former side, especially in his homeland where he can catch up with family and friends.But those close to Tait know to give him plenty of space to concentrate on basketball.”I’m sure there’ll be a few things off court like family and friends trying to get tickets, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to provide enough for all of them,” the 26-year-old said before the Hawks left for New Zealand yesterday.”I’m just trying to focus on the game. Generally the basketball side of things takes care of itself when I feel good and happy, and my family’s pretty good because they understand how it is and how I am when it comes to the game.”Tait has regained full strength in his shoulder – he originally suffered the injury while body-surfing – and powered through the pre-season without any setbacks.”It seems like it’s been a long off-season,” he said. “I think we’ve had enough of playing trials and practising, now it’s time to get down to business and all the guys are looking forward to it.”The Hawks played five of their six pre-season games on the road, winning three.”We won our last game of the pre-season and our confidence is good,” Tait said. “If you asked anybody in the league right now, they’d probably say the same, but we definitely feel good coming into the season,” he added.”This game will be a very good test for us to get the season started, on the road against a very good team. We’ll definitely know where we’re at.”
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Kiama councillor defeated after 28 years in office

Joyce Wheatley, who was defeated in the Kiama council elections, at Kendalls Beach in Kiama. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERJoyce Wheatley is surprisingly nonchalant about her weekend election defeat after 28 years on Kiama council.”That’s life. People have made their decision, who am I to argue?” Mrs Wheatley said yesterday.The election result halts a notable career for the 71-year-old, who spent eight years as Kiama’s mayor and 26 years on the executive of the NSW Local Government Women’s Association.The retired high school teacher grew up in Camperdown before relocating to Kiama with her husband Frank and three children 43 years ago.The couple operated a community group before both were encouraged to stand for Kiama council in 1980.Ill-health forced Mr Wheatley to withdraw from the race. He lived just long enough to see his wife elected.Mrs Wheatley’s elevation to mayor in 1991 came at a turbulent time in the council’s history. However, her conciliatory approach proved to have a calming effect during volatile debates.Mrs Wheatley, who was regarded as a role model for female councillors, was presented with an inaugural award for women in local government last year.”The percentage (of women) in local government is about 27 per cent and needs to be much higher,” she said. “Why waste 50 per cent of the intelligence in the community?”Mrs Wheatley has been a member of the ALP for 39 years but holds no grudge against the party for not supporting her campaign on the weekend, resulting in both she and Kiama ALP president Neil Reilly running as independents.”The ALP doesn’t endorse candidates outside the metropolitan area … I guess they need to make sure their resources are being used as best as possible,” she said.Mrs Wheatley said she was proud of how Kiama Municipality had developed over the years.”The fact we have been able to grow, control that growth and share with newcomers what we have,” she said.The grandmother of two now plans to divide her time between her work as a marriage celebrant, teaching at Kiama Community College and furthering her role within St John Ambulance.”Will I come back in four years? Who knows, but I’ve got lots of things planned for now which will still keep me very busy.”
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Brasch bringing the heat at Dubbo race day

Juste Heaven Sent (inside) is among the horses Mudgee trainer Jeff Brasch will run at today’s Melbourne Cup day meeting at Dubbo. Photo: JANIAN McMILLAN (www.racing.photography南京夜网.au)MUDGEE trainer Jeff Brasch is the in-form trainer of the central west at the moment and he will be bringing a strong team of runners to today’s Melbourne Cup meeting at Dubbo.
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Brasch will saddle up a runner in each of the five races to be contested at the meeting, which promises to be a much more low-key event compared to Saturday’s bumper Derby Day program.

Among the quintet will be last-start Wellington winner Juste Heaven Sent, which steps back up to the mile when it runs in the Domain-Daily Liberal Class 1 and Maiden Plate (1600m).

The four-year-old broke her maiden status with a tough win over 1400m at Wellington last Monday and Brasch believed she would be suited to today’s race.

“She came through that win in good order and Greg (Ryan) told me it would be a good race for her as she still has a lot to learn,” Brasch said.

“She’s had one go at the mile before and was a bit unlucky so I have no worries about her getting the trip and it’s not a strong race so hopefully she can win again.”

Kacie Chater will ride Juste Heaven Sent while the other four mounts will be split between Mathew Cahill and Justin Stanley, who will ride Mind You in the Daily Liberal Cup Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m).

Cahill will be aboard first-starter Divapar in the opening event, Aleco’s Girl in race two and last-start winner Delaval in the fourth race on the program.

“I’ve been lucky that with Greg riding at Muswellbrook I’ve been able to get good riders,” Brasch said.

“Kacie is a good rider who probably doesn’t get the chances she deserves and I think Justin will be good on Mind You because he has a big weight and needs a strong rider.

“Mathew is one of the best jockeys going around and he is on board the other three so I go to the races confident we can have some success.”

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Siblings going head-to-head at Rosehill

Anne-Marie Robinson with Smashing and brother Terry with Ledger, who meet in the Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Handicap. Picture: GREG TOTMANThe Robinsons have all bases covered with Smashing and Ledger in today’s Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Handicap at Rosehill, but it’s not an ideal situation.Anne-Marie and Terry Robinson will take their sibling rivalry to the track when Smashing meets Ledger for the third time, but admit their late father Kevin would not approve.”I think Dad would be proud to see us in the same race at Rosehill, but he would also say ‘why are they racing each other?’,” Anne-Marie said yesterday. “It’s one of those things you don’t want to do, but I guess we’ll be cheering two horses. I would love for Smashing to win another one in town but Ledger is such a special horse to all of us.”He was the last horse Dad bought before he died and I wouldn’t mind if he beat me at all,” she admitted. The record is one-all between Smashing and Ledger and the good natured banter has been flying around the Seven Mile Beach stable this week.The horses are stabled next to each other and will travel on the same float, with Anne-Marie’s other runner Another Zena.Smashing was a last-start winner at Rosehill on October 25 and is likely to set the speed in the 1200m dash, with Ledger as one of the race’s swoopers.”They are both going great and look fantastic,” Terry said.”Any way the race is run we have a horse which should be able to take advantage of it.”Ledger has to get back and settle and he will charge home and he deserves to get a win in town,” the trainer added. Another Zena will start the day for the Robinsons in the Bacardi Breezer Handicap (1800m), with Kevin’s grandson Luke Price later having Adoranova in the Nivea Visage Handicap (1500m).”Another Zena has been looking for a staying trip and she could give us a good start to the day,” Anne-Marie said.”Then Luke has Adoranova in the next (race), so we’ll all be cheering for him to get his first city winner.”If things go to plan it could be a big day,” she said confidently.
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