Police allege ice link to fatal car crash

Scotney John Duncomb, 36, of King Street, will face the County Court next month on culpable driving charges over the death of an 80-year-old Mortlake man in July 2013.

Scotney John Duncomb, 36, of King Street, will face the County Court next month on culpable driving charges over the death of an 80-year-old Mortlake man in July 2013.

A WARRNAMBOOL man involved in a fatal head-on collision in Noorat last year was allegedly on ice at the time, a court has heard. 

Scotney John Duncomb, 36, of King Street, will face the County Court next month on culpable driving charges over the death of an 80-year-old Mortlake man in July 2013.

Exactly a year to the day since the fatal collision, Mr Duncomb appeared at a committal hearing in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday. 

He pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including culpable driving, dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs. 

The court heard on the morning of Tuesday, July 10, 2013 Mr Duncomb was in Warrnambool buying auto parts. He left the city, stopping to see his partner at work on the way to Glenormiston,  where the pair was living at the time. 

He drove east along the Princes Highway for about 30 minutes, turning north on to Racecourse Road. 

The court heard Mr Duncomb slowed and swerved to avoid 80 dairy cows on the road and nature strip. 

But moments later his Ford sedan collided head-on with a Toyota van, instantly killing the elderly driver. 

The court heard the night prior to the accident, Mr Duncomb had allegedly used  “two cones of cannabis” and “a line of amphetamine”. 

After the accident police administered a test which returned a high reading of methamphetamine. 

It was also alleged that Mr Duncomb took two tablets of ecstasy, but it was unclear whether these were illicit substances or vitamin C tablets.

Two passing motorists who helped at the accident described Mr Duncomb as being in shock while wandering on to the road. 

Both witnesses said Mr Duncomb went into a nearby paddock after the crash. 

Senior Constable Shannon Kavenagh, of Camperdown police, told the court “an officer conducted a search of the paddock, locating two bags of tablets”.

More than 10 witnesses gave evidence in court yesterday. 

Defence counsel Vince Peters focused heavily on whether the accused had built up a tolerance to methamphetamine. 

Mr Peters pointed out that Mr Duncomb had been able to negotiate his way around the herd of cattle. 

A witness moving the herd also described Mr Duncomb’s driving as normal. 

Police and witnesses were also cross-examined as to whether the deceased man was wearing a seatbelt prior to the accident.

Crash investigators could not say if the deceased was wearing a seatbelt. 

The first officer at the scene said the man was not wearing a seatbelt. 

A doctor responsible for performing the autospy said the fatal injuries were still consistent with somebody wearing a seatbelt.

In a record of interview read to the court, Mr Duncomb said he was distracted when some items fell from the passenger seat on to the floor. 

“He leaned over and when he bobbed his head up the van was right in front of him,” Mr Peters said. 

Asked by police on July 16 how he felt the morning after using ice Mr Duncomb said “fine, absolutely fine. Everything was 210 per cent right up until the last moment (the accident)”.

Mr Duncomb’s former partner said the accused acted normally the morning of the crash. 

Detective Leading Senior Constable Wayne Reynolds, of the major collision investigation unit, said there were “no pre-collision or emergency brakes”. 

Magistrate Peter Mellas found there was enough evidence for the matter to be considered by the County Court with the case listed for Geelong on August 29.

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