James Brian Randall guilty of Oxley Highway crash at Westdale that injured cyclist Judy Johnstone in 2017

Crash scene: A police officer and witnesses at the site on the Oxley Highway at Westdale on August 29. Photo: Gareth Gardner
Crash scene: A police officer and witnesses at the site on the Oxley Highway at Westdale on August 29. Photo: Gareth Gardner

A TRUCK driver has been found guilty of causing a crash that critically injured a Tamworth triathlete who was out bike riding.

James Brian Randall fronted Tamworth Local Court this week on three charges stemming from the August 29 crash on the Oxley Highway at Westdale.

Randall denied the charges against him but was found guilty of two charges after hearing by Magistrate George Breton.

 Keen triathlete: Judy Johnstone was training for the world championships before the accident where she suffered serious injuries. Photo: Supplied

Keen triathlete: Judy Johnstone was training for the world championships before the accident where she suffered serious injuries. Photo: Supplied

Randall was convicted of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH) and driver of a motor vehicle not pass bicycle at a safe distance.

On the first charge, Randall was fined $2000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months from July 10. He was fined $500 for the second charge.

A back-up charge of negligent driving was withdrawn.

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Randall, a Willow Tree-based truck driver, was charged by police from the Crash Investigation Unit who maintained he was negligent and did not leave 1.5m when overtaking the female cyclist on Gunnedah Rd, about 1.30pm, near the intersection of Flinders St and the Duck Inn Apartments.

Charges laid: The August 29 crash scene at Westdale. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Charges laid: The August 29 crash scene at Westdale. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Seventy-three-year-old cyclist, Judy Johnstone, was training for the world masters but fell from her bike during the collision.

She suffered seven broken bones or fractures and a bleed on the brain and was rushed to Tamworth hospital in a critical condition before undergoing surgery in a Newcastle hospital. She has since recovered.

The stretch of road has a 70km per hour posted speed limit, and under NSW laws, drivers are required to leave 1.5m when passing or overtaking cyclists.

In 2016, new laws made it mandatory for drivers to give cyclists one metre of space when passing, if the speed limit is under 60km per hour. Drivers must leave 1.5m if the speed limit is above 60.

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