'I don't remember': Hamilton man pleads not guilty in culpable driving case

A HAMILTON man charged with dangerous driving that led to the death of his 19-year-old friend told a court yesterday he was pleading not guilty because he could not remember if he was driving.

Todd Templeton, 20, of Sobeys Road, was committed for trial in the County Court on August 29 in Geelong on charges of culpable driving and dangerous driving causing death on Mount Baimbridge Road, Hamilton, in the early hours of December 7, 2012.

Mr Templeton’s friend Alex Trotter was killed and Mr Templeton suffered serious injuries after the car they were in rolled over several times.

Both were ejected from the car in the crash.

Mr Templeton appeared yesterday in Warrnambool Magistrates Court.

Magistrate Ann McGarvie said she was satisfied there was sufficient evidence to commit Mr Templeton for trial.

Sergeant Peter Bellion, a member of Victoria Police’s major collision investigation unit, told the court he estimated the car was travelling at least 186 kilometres an hour when it first flipped.

Sergeant Bellion said he believed Mr Trotter was a passenger in the car and Mr Templeton the driver.

That opinion was based on his lengthy investigation experience, he said.

Injury causation expert Thomas Gibson said it appeared the passenger had been partially ejected but had been entangled in a seatbelt and hit by the vehicle several times as it rolled. 

He said it appeared the driver was ejected without being caught up and there was a 75 per cent chance he was ejected through the driver’s side window.

Under questioning from Dermot Dann, for Mr Templeton, Mr Gibson said he had not been aware when compiling his report that an analysis of the bloodstains found on the driver’s door seal and on the driver-side airbags had excluded them as Mr Templeton’s.

Mr Dann said Mr Trotter had not been excluded as the source of the bloodstains.

Mr Gibson said that information would have been relevant to his report about where each of the two men had been sitting in the car.

“That would indicate a higher chance that Mr Trotter was in the driver’s seat,” Mr Gibson said.

Constable David Morris, of the major collision investigation unit, told the court Mr Templeton had said in an interview with him some time after the accident that he could not remember who was driving the car.

Mr Dann told the court Mr Templeton had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident.