Sheep shearer’s excuse for crashing into train


A TUNBRIDGE sheep shearer who got involved in a car prang with a 30-carriage train said he didn't see the freight transporter because his windows were fogged up - and didn't hear it because he had his radio on.

Jason Mark Farrelly, 42, had drunk about three longnecks and six cans of XXXX Gold beer before the collision on August 20 last year.

The wool industry worker, who had a blood alcohol reading of 0.102, fled the scene after his tail light was destroyed by the 2012 tonne, 496 metre-long train.

But a trail of debris from his car led police straight to Farrelly's home, where he confessed all.

A TasRail freight train.
A TasRail freight train.

Farrelly appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court on Monday, pleading guilty to drink driving and driving without a licence.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to stop at a level crossing's stop sign, failing to give way to a train at that crossing.

Magistrate Chris Webster heard a dark coloured sedan stopped at the John Street crossing at Tunbridge, with the train applying its emergency brakes.

There were no passengers on the train.

Police patrolled the town of Tunbridge, locating Farrelly when they found a vehicle with damage consistent with being hit by a train.

Farrelly told police he "never seen nothing" before hearing sirens and the crash of his tail light being struck, and on Monday told Mr Webster it was "just a silly mistake - I shouldn't have driven".

Mr Webster noted "trains on a train line are as rare as hen's teeth" in that part of Tasmania, but "he should have seen it - a train is a little bit larger than a car".

"Why didn't you see the train?" the magistrate asked.

"Because my windows were all fogged up. It's a rough track and I slowed down to creep across it. I didn't hear the train because I had my radio on."

Farrelly was convicted and fined $800.



Originally published as Sheep shearer's excuse for crashing into train