A diabetic truck driver has been cleared of dangerous driving causing the death of an eight-year-old girl and injury to multiple adults when he ploughed his B-double into a Hume Highway rest stop south-west of Sydney.
Brendon Paul Lidgard, 46, had pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to dangerous driving occasioning death and three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
He faced a judge-alone trial this year before Judge Andrew Colefax, who on Friday found Lidgard not guilty of the four charges on the indictment. The judgment has not been published.
Crown prosecutor Monika Knowles had told the court that Lidgard has been a type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic for 29 years, and on July 10, 2020, believed he had a “hypo”, describing a hypoglycaemic episode when blood sugar levels drop below normal, causing particular side effects.
Lidgard’s insulin regime was “essentially four times a day” but on the day in question, he added a fifth injection while eating a lamb cutlet and Chiko Roll at Uncle Leo’s Roadhouse in Glenfield.
The prosecutor said Lidgard told police in an interview he had been concerned about his blood sugar levels due to consuming carbohydrates and planned to have a drink at home.
Defence barrister Simon Buchen, SC, had submitted that his client had a very severe and likely “fast-onset” hypoglycaemic episode shortly before the crash, in circumstances where he suffered from a “phenomenon called hypoglycaemic unawareness”.
“It deprived him of the capacity to control the vehicle,” he said.