A MAN fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into car carrying a mother and her child, a court has heard.
John Edward Richards had been on his way back from visiting his business in Avoca when the collision occurred, and admitted feeling sleepy prior to impact.
The 70-year-old from Wendouree appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court this morning, where he pleaded guilty to careless driving of a motor vehicle.
The court heard Richards was travelling east on the Sunraysia Highway about 6pm on November 1, 2011, when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road.
The victim, travelling the other way, swerved to try to avoid a collision, but couldn’t get out of the way.
The two cars collided and ran off the road. The force of the impact ripped the right rear wheel off the victim’s car.
Both vehicles suffered extensive damage and had to be towed from the scene.
Richards told police he had planned to stop for a power nap, but must have dozed off at the wheel beforehand.
Defence lawyer Frank Frawley said his client had a good driving record, and drove more than 50,000 kilometres per year because of work.
He urged the court not to convict Richards, but magistrate Peter Couzens said the case was too serious.
“This is an accident that not uncommonly was born out of fatigue,” Mr Couzens said.
“Thankfully it doesn’t appear that any significant injuries were sustained.”
Richards was fined $750 with conviction, but no order was made against his license.