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How a truck driver decision to reach for his water bottle while driving costed a woman her legs

How a truck driver’s decision to reach for his water bottle while driving ended up costing an elderly woman her legs

  • Neil Schroder collided with an oncoming car when he reached for a water bottle
  • His Mitsubishi 4-tonne tray back truck hit a Mercedes Benz driven woman, 70
  • The elderly woman’s foot was severed and she is now confined to a wheelchair

A truck driver’s lapse in concentration on the road has cost an elderly woman her legs.

Neil Alexander Schroder was driving along the on the Wide Bay Highway near Woolgoola in Queensland on April 1 when he took his eyes off the road for a second to reach for his water bottle.

The Langshaw farmer’s white Mitsubishi 4-tonne tray back truck was carrying a load of hay when it collided head-on with a Mercedes Benz driven by a woman in her 70s.

The elderly woman was airlifted to a Sunshine Coast hospital with catastrophic chest and leg injuries.

Neil Alexander Schroder was driving along the on the Wide Bay Highway near Woolgoola in Queensland on April 1 this year when he took his eyes off the road for a second to reach for his water bottle (pictured: the crash scene)

She has since lost the use of her legs, is confined to a wheelchair, and will never drive again, The Courier Mail reported.

The 60-year-old man pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention causing grievous bodily harm to another person in Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday.

‘The defendant has approached a left-hand open curve bend and at the same time has reached over into the passenger side seat of the truck to obtain a bottle of water,’ police prosecutor Lisa Manns said. 

‘The victim has seen the defendant’s vehicle moving over and has started moving towards the centre line. The defendant has looked up, realised where the truck was and has pulled back on the steering wheel to correct his mistake,’ she said.

The Langshaw farmer's white Mitsubishi 4-tonne tray back truck was carrying a load of hay when it collided head-on (pictured) with a Mercedes Benz driven by a woman in her 70s

The Langshaw farmer’s white Mitsubishi 4-tonne tray back truck was carrying a load of hay when it collided head-on (pictured) with a Mercedes Benz driven by a woman in her 70s

But the vehicles collided seconds later, causing the woman’s car to spin and skid off the road.

She was in hospital for three months and underwent multiple surgeries for seven broken ribs, a broken hip and a severed right foot.

The court heard Mr Schroder felt a great deal of remorse for his actions.

‘He’s been very mindful of two hands on the wheel at all times and don’t have a drink until you stop,’ Schroder’s solicitor said. 

The elderly woman was airlifted to a Sunshine Coast hospital with catastrophic chest and leg injuries (pictured)

The elderly woman was airlifted to a Sunshine Coast hospital with catastrophic chest and leg injuries (pictured)

Magistrate Chris Callaghan adjourned the matter to September 24 due to difficulties reaching a decision.

Mr Callaghan said it would take some time to formulate an appropriate sentence for Schroder, the woman, and the wider community.

He also said the punishment needed to act as an example for the driver and others.

On Tuesday, Schroder was banned from driving for six months and given a two month prison sentence, suspended for nine months.

No conviction was recorded. 

The woman has since lost the use of her legs, is confined to a wheelchair, and will never drive again (pictured: the helicopter that airlifted her to hospital)

 The woman has since lost the use of her legs, is confined to a wheelchair, and will never drive again (pictured: the helicopter that airlifted her to hospital)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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