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Truckie knew of fault before fatal crash

Goran Joveski knew there was a fault with the stabilising legs on the truck crane he used to lift containers for work in Melbourne.

He already had to manually retract the rear leg once on the morning of a fatal accident that claimed the life of fellow truck driver Peter Howard.

A remote control used to retract the leg had failed after he lifted a full container off the back of the truck and he’d had to use a manual lever to fix the problem.

Later on the morning of December 19, 2019 Joveski finished loading an empty container on to his truck and drove out of a depot.

CCTV footage showed him walking underneath the black beam, which protruded about two metres out the side of the truck, the same distance high.

After narrowly missing a gate while driving out of the depot, a passing car swerved to avoid the leg.

Mr Howard appeared not to have seen it before it smashed through the cabin of his truck. It hit the windscreen and travelled through the cabin before being torn from the truck.

Mr Howard was thrown from his vehicle, which came to a stop more than 100 metres away from the crash scene.

Joveski told WorkSafe investigators he never would have driven if he knew the legs hadn’t retracted.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing Mr Howard’s death and was on Monday ordered by County Court Judge Wendy Wilmoth to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work.

Judge Wilmoth said Joveski was aware of the fault but at the crucial time did not notice the extended leg.

“The only explanation is, in the seconds it took before getting back in the cabin, you forgot about the extended stabiliser leg,” she said.

Mr Howard, a 50-year-old father-of-two, had recently become his mother’s primary carer. His wife of 30 years described him as the glue that held their family together.

Joveski apologised to the family, acknowledging it would not mend the family’s pain, and said their loss and pain will remain with him forever.

The court heard Joveski has Behcet’s disorder, a rare condition which causes blood vessel inflammation throughout the body.

He no longer has sight in his right eye and requires ongoing treatment to ensure he retains sight in his left eye.

Joveski is also banned from driving for 18 months.

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