Drank 30-40 cans before crash that killed a child

By Riverine Herald

THE consumption of between 30 and 40 alcoholic beverages at a child’s birthday party is alleged to have contributed to a collision that killed a Nathalia boy early Saturday, a court has heard.

Police charged Thomas Richard Baksh, 35, on Sunday with culpable driving of a motor vehicle causing death and his case was heard in Shepparton Magistrates Court on Monday.

A 12-year-old Nathalia boy, who was travelling in the front passenger seat of the gold Holden Commodore sedan Baksh was driving, died in the collision on Wanganui Rd.

Baksh did not attend the hearing and was kept in custody at Shepparton police station.

Magistrate John Murphy heard Baksh had been attending a child’s 10th birthday party in Shepparton on Friday night where the alleged drinking occurred.

Leading Senior Constable Chris Cole alleged Baksh admitted to drinking about 30 to 40 cans and bottles of a Wild Turkey pre-mix beverage.

‘‘He had purchased four 500ml bottles and several boxes of 10 cans,’’ Leading Snr Constable Cole told the court.

The court heard the accused’s partner had attempted to secure the Commodore’s keys to prevent Baksh from driving, but he had taken them while she was briefly absent.

Police alleged late in the night, Baksh drove to Nathalia to pick up the 12-year-old.

Police said two other children, aged 10 and 14, also accompanied Baksh to McDonald’s on Numurkah Rd in Shepparton’s north.

None of the children can be named for legal reasons.

‘‘The accused stated he had no memory of driving to McDonald’s, being at McDonald’s or leaving McDonald’s,’’ Snr Constable Cole told the court.

He said the fatal collision on Wanganui Rd happened just after 1am on Saturday when the Commodore left the bitumen and struck a pole near Kittles Rd.

‘‘For an unknown reason, (the accused) has rapidly over-steered to the right,’’ he said.

‘‘The accused’s vehicle has impacted the passenger side with the pole.’’

The court heard the 12-year-old front seat passenger was not wearing a seat-belt and died at the scene.

Baksh and the two other children were taken to Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Health, where the accused did a preliminary breath test.

Police said the three suffered mild to serious injuries.

‘‘Hospital blood samples were also suggestive of a high (blood alcohol) reading,’’ Snr Constable Cole told the court.

As of Monday, he said the samples had not been fully analysed.

Police arrested Baksh at GV Health and took him into custody.

An interview was delayed until Sunday due to concerns for Baksh’s welfare.

‘‘He made a full admission to high alcohol consumption,’’ Snr Constable Cole told the court.

‘‘Did he say how many drinks he had?’’ Mr Murphy asked the prosecutor.

‘‘A considerable number, sir,’’ Snr Constable Cole said.

Defence lawyer Henrietta de Crespigny did not apply for bail on Baksh’s behalf and asked that the health and welfare of her client be monitored in custody.

‘‘Mr Baksh’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating. I’ll be seeking that he be attended to by a psychologist as soon as possible,’’ she told the court.

Mr Murphy remanded Baksh in custody and ordered him to reappear next month.

—Shepp News