Australia: Indian-origin truck driver gets 22-year jail for killing cops
A 48-year-old Indian-origin drug-affected and sleep-deprived truck driver was jailed on Wednesday for 22 years for plowing his heavy vehicle into Australian police officers and killing four of them last year on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway, according to various media reports. The accused is identified as Mohinder Singh. He was sentenced in Victoria's Supreme Court.
Jailed with non-parole period of 18 years and six months
Singh pleaded guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death, three charges of drug trafficking, and one charge of possession of a drug of dependence. Singh was jailed for 22 years, with a non-parole period of 18 years and six months.
Singh plowed mover into officers on April 22 last year
"Singh stopped on his route to do a drug deal, before veering into the emergency lane of the freeway in Kew and plowing his 19-tonne prime mover into officers and their stationary vehicles on April 22 last year," The Age newspaper reported. "Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constables Glen Humphris, and Josh Prestney died at the scene," The Guardian reported.
Justice Coghlan described the incident footage as chilling
Justice Paul Coghlan said that the crash had shocked the public conscience and described footage of the incident as chilling. "The grief of those close to the victims is profound and life-changing. Such grief is heightened by the sudden and unnecessary nature of the deaths. We can only hope ... as time goes by, some amelioration of their suffering can come about," Coghlan said.
Singh repeatedly drifted into the emergency lane of the freeway
He was actively psychotic as he claimed that he had seen a witch before killing the officers in the crash. "The officers had pulled over Porsche driver Richard Pusey for allegedly speeding at the time. Multiple CCTV cameras showed footage of Singh repeatedly drifting into the emergency lane of the freeway before the crash," 9news.com reported.
Singh had rested only five of 72 hours before crash
Singh's reckless driving was observed by other motorists, with one witness saying: "He's going to...kill someone." "Singh was an ice user who, investigators estimate, had rested only five of the 72 hours before the crash and spent much of those three days dealing and using drugs with associates when not driving," The Age reported.
One of two commemoration services will be open to public
Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said that police would commemorate the anniversary in services next week and one later this year that would be open to the public given the overwhelming support shown to the force from the community.