GETTING caught driving under the influence of drugs is a sure-fire way for motorists not only to lose their licence and money, but potentially their freedom.

As the ice (methamphetamine) epidemic continues to sink its claws deeper into the North Queensland community, increasingly more often police are arresting drug-affected drivers with not only meth, but other drugs and alcohol in their systems.

Here is a list of some of NQ's worst meth drivers:

These North Queenslanders have run afoul of the law after getting behind the wheel with meth in their systems.
These North Queenslanders have run afoul of the law after getting behind the wheel with meth in their systems.

Bradley Paul McNamara

McNamara stole a 60-seat school bus from Giru on December 11, 2019 and drove it under the influence of amphetamine and methamphetamine.

During the police chase McNamara ran two red lights, swerved across the road and took out highway roadside bollards.

Bradley Paul McNamara plea guilt to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle under a circumstance of aggravation.
Bradley Paul McNamara plea guilt to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle under a circumstance of aggravation.

Shocking footage showed police approach the bus in the drive-through of KFC Annandale, before an officer draws his baton and attempts to smash his way through the front windscreen.

The footage shows an officer's foot run over, when the bus tried to exit the drive-through queue.

After swinging the baton for minutes, another officer smashes the driver side window of the bus and climbs in, arresting the driver.

In the Townsville District Court, McNamara pleaded guilty to eight charges including two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and one count of entering premises with intent and was sentenced to four years jail.

 

Julian Peter Eathorne

Despite multiple chances to change his drug driving ways, Eathorne "methed up" big time and will pay a heavy price.

With three previous convictions under his belt for driving under the influence, Eathorne was skating on thin ice, yet he continued to play with fire by jumping behind the wheel multiple times while high on meth last year.

On three occasions in 2020 (June 1, August 14 and August 29) he was pulled over by police and returned positive reading for the presence of drugs.

Julian Peter Eathorne was jailed for multiple drug and driving offences.
Julian Peter Eathorne was jailed for multiple drug and driving offences.

He was driving an uninsured vehicle, without a licence, or a registration certificate.

On another occasion, police caught him with 0.2g of ice and electronic scales.

Eathorne pleaded guilty to a total of 10 charges in Ayr Magistrates Court with Magistrate Luxton saying the sentence, "must reflect an aspect of personal deterrence towards you given you have continued to offend in a like manner despite the orders that have been made".

He imprisoned Eathorne for six months and disqualified him from driving for a total of three-and-a-half years.

 

Jo-Anne May Gulson

In September 2020, a magistrate warned the mother of four Jo-Anne May Gulson, 28, that she was at the end of the line and would go to jail if she continued to drive with methamphetamine in her system.

Police prosecutor Kelly Mythen said it was the fourth conviction of a like nature on Gulson's traffic record and on the previous occasion she had been sentenced to probation.

Jo-Anne May Gulson has been convicted in the Charters Towers Magistrates Court for drug driving with methamphetamine and cannabis in her system.
Jo-Anne May Gulson has been convicted in the Charters Towers Magistrates Court for drug driving with methamphetamine and cannabis in her system.

Gulson had been before the courts four times in the last five years for driving with a drug in her system and stressed the court's actions in the past did not appear to be a deterrent to her offending.

"You have to stop doing this, if you don't you go to jail," Magistrate Mack told Gulson.

"Don't take the chance. You've got children to look after."

Gulson was sentenced to one month in prison, wholly suspended for nine months.

She was disqualified from driving for six months.

 

Stephen Eric Poppi

31-year-old North Queensland mechanic Stephen Eric Poppi has two drug-driving convictions in the space of 18 months and an impending court case in relation to a third similar charge.

He pleaded guilty in the Ingham Magistrate's Court on Thursday to driving under the influence of both methamphetamine and marijuana on the Bruce Highway at 4.20pm on April 5, 2020.

Smoking ice before driving is a sure-fire way to be thrown in jail. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Smoking ice before driving is a sure-fire way to be thrown in jail. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News

Defence lawyer Darren Robinson told Magistrate Scott Luxton that in the interests of transparency, his client had been charged with a subsequent drug-driving charge on June 6, and was due to appear in the Tully Magistrate's Court.

He conceded that although Poppi had a poor traffic history, including a drug-driving conviction from January 2019, "it was not at the point of being disgraceful".

He said his client understood the gravity of his offending, including "that in due course he runs the risk of imprisonment, which is the biggest fear".

Poppi was convicted, fined $900 and disqualified from driving for the mandatory minimum three-month period.

 

Kymberley Kate Scotney

Pregnant mother of two Kymberley Kate Scotney, 28, barely avoided imprisonment last October after her third drug driving charge in five years.

Charters Towers Magistrates court heard about police noticing what they thought was a male driving a car travelling on Bluff Rd in Charters Towers at 11.45am on April 6.

When they executed a U-turn to stop it for checks, they noticed it weaving about the road, and crossing the centre lane.

When the car came to a stop there was a male in the passenger's seat and Scotney was in the driver's seat.

Kymberley Kate Scotney, 28, plead guilty to her third drug driving charge in five years in the Charters Towers Magistrates Court.
Kymberley Kate Scotney, 28, plead guilty to her third drug driving charge in five years in the Charters Towers Magistrates Court.

A saliva test was done which produced a positive reading for methamphetamine.

The pair had swapped places while driving because the man was unlicensed and Scotney thought the drugs she had taken earlier would be out of her system.

"It's a real shame to hear that you're pregnant and that there's children at home," Magistrate Keegan said.

"This is the third conviction in the space of five years. It's beyond a fine."

On probation for previous drug convictions, Scotney was sentenced to one month imprisonment, wholly suspended for six months, on the drug driving charge.

She was disqualified from driving for three months.

 

Rebecca Maria Andrews

Townsville mother Rebecca Maria Andrews, 28, wept in Charters Towers Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of methamphetamine and eight prescription drugs while her daughter was in the car.

In August 2019, the court heard Rebecca Maria Andrews was driving her Holden Barina on the Flinders Highway swerving in the lane, striking a number of traffic bollards and overtaking over double lines when it was not safe to do so.

When police stopped Andrews they found her four year old daughter in a booster seat in the vehicle.

Police prosecutor Tim Wise said he had never seen someone appear before a court affected by nine drugs.

Several North Queenslanders have been jailed for repeatedly driving under the influence of meth.
Several North Queenslanders have been jailed for repeatedly driving under the influence of meth.

He said the situation was particularly serious given that speed limits on the highway were up to 110km/h in the area in which Andrews was driving.

Defence solicitor Rebecca Hudson said her suffered from endometriosis and had been prescribed medication for that, as well as depression and for a dislocated jaw.

The pullover was "huge wake-up call" for Andrews who was now medication free.

Magistrate Steven Mosch stressed said, "it's lucky that you did not generate some more funerals out of this behaviour".

"Methamphetamine is the most concerning drug. And if you, for whatever reason, need to take these types of medications, you should consider whether you should be driving."

Andrews told the court that after she was caught she flushed the medication down the toilet.

Andrews was convicted and fined $1500 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

 

Thomas Anthony Dello Iaco

Being intercepted by police behind the wheel high on drugs was not enough for a small town barista Thomas Anthony Dello Iaco, 20, to learn his lesson, because he was nabbed again just one week later.

Local cafe worker Thomas Anthony Dello Iaco faced court charged with repeat drug driving offences.
Local cafe worker Thomas Anthony Dello Iaco faced court charged with repeat drug driving offences.

On January 11, 2020 police patrolling Mosman St randomly intercepted the former cafe worker for a breath test and saliva analysis, which returned a positive result for methamphetamine.

One week later Dello Iaco was intercepted a second time by police on Clark St, with the saliva analysis returning positive results for methamphetamine and MDMA.

He was issued his second notice to appear in as many weeks.

At the time of his interception Dello Iaco was the holder of a provisional licence.

Acting Magistrate Scott Luxton told Dello Iaco he needed to cease use of these substances.

"You need to cease the use of these substances Mr Dello Iaco," Mr Luxton said.

"If you continue to engage in the use of them there is an inevitability about you coming back before the court.

"If you do so once you get your licence back, you won't have it for very long."

He was convicted and fined $450 and suspended for three months for the first drug driving offence.

For the second offence he was fined $750 and suspended for four months.

 

 

leighton.smith@news.com.au

Originally published as REVEALED: NQ's worst meth drivers


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