The truck driver believed responsible for initiating Melbourne’s horror Burnley Tunnel crash in March 2007 has today been convicted of dangerous driving causing death which killed three men.
A Supreme Court jury of five men and seven women found David Kalwig, 44, of Hoppers Crossing, not guilty of the more serious charge of culpable driving. Kalwig had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He has been remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing. The prosecution alleged he was not paying attention and going too fast to stop or take evasive action but Kalwig argued he was unable to see the danger until it was too late.
Prosecutor Peter Rose SC told the jury that while Kalwig wasn’t speeding (believed to be travelling at 68 in an 80km/h zone), his driving was grossly negligent because he didn’t keep proper lookout or drive at a speed that allowed him to stop in time. Other traffic in the tunnel was estimated to have slowed to approximately 35km/h just before the accident.
“Mr Kalwig failed to observe what was blatantly obvious, just wasn’t paying proper attention and at the last minute … he veers violently to the right into the lane of traffic and catastrophe unfolds,” said Mr Rose.
Defence barrister Geoff Steward argued Kalwig could not see the broken-down truck and had few options left by the the time he did. He said the stopped truck was a dangerous hazard and CityLink’s response in warning drivers was deficient.
Mr Steward said it did not matter how many other vehicles had passed safely because the only thing for the jury to consider was what Kalwig did and whether it was criminally negligent.
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