HARD HIT: Photo show damage after a Landcruiser smashed into the South Kolan Pub in the early hours of the morning on Mother's Day.
HARD HIT: Photo show damage after a Landcruiser smashed into the South Kolan Pub in the early hours of the morning on Mother's Day. Contributed

He destroyed a house and half a pub but he won't go to jail

RUM drunk behind the wheel of a new Toyota Landcruiser, ripping down the road in excess of 130kmh in an 80 zone, Jeshua Hennessy ploughed into a country pub, then a house.

The impact just before 1am on Mother's Day, left a trail of destruction to the Queenslander house, the walls of the South Kolan Hotel, and to his four-wheel drive.



The house was moved off its stumps and will be demolished.

Hennessy had been at a house-warming party that day and admitted to drinking rum and cokes and home brew.

More than three hours after the crash a blood sample taken at Bundaberg Hospital at 4.15am gave an alcohol reading of .160.

But Hennessy, a 30-year-old father of four has narrowly avoided doing jail time for the destruction he caused.

Hennessy outside court.
Hennessy outside court.

Hennessy pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle when adversely affected by an intoxicating substance at 12.50am on Sunday, May 14 and driving under the influence - .160.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Andrew Blunt put facts before the court that Hennessy was driving at speed estimated by police to be in excess of 130kmh on Hill End Rd when he lost control at the T-intersection with Gin Gin Rd.

Snr Cnst Blunt said major structural damage was done to the Queenslander and South Kolan Hotel when the white Landcruiser travelled through the hotel carpark, impacted with the hotel, the house and overturned onto its roof.

A clear set of marks indicated heavy braking of 53 metres that continued across a rail line, through a Stop sign, a Chevron sign with the four-wheel drive becoming airborne when it struck a gutter.

Snr Cnst Blunt said it crashed through 10m of block wall before hitting the Queenslander - "the impact moved the house off its stumps".

Engineers had since reviewed the house and it is set for demolition.

"He says he remembers a big black sign and woke up upside down," Sgt Blunt said.

"He went to a house warming and had four drinks of rum and coke and home brew."

When magistrate Belinda Merrin asked how much damage was caused, Snr Cnst Blunt said it was substantial, more than $100,000.

Defence lawyer Charlotte Carrodus said the hotel had been operating the same day after the damaged areas were roped off.

Ms Carrodus said Hennessy had been under serious personal stress at the time following separation from his long-term partner, and had had to buy himself a new Toyota Landcruiser which was then in the crash.

And on the same day he had been let go from his job with a mining company and has since declared bankruptcy.

While at the house-warming, she said Hennessy become involved in an incident and because he already had a bad day was in no mood so decided to get away.

He had driven back to Bundaberg to get his belongings, packed his four-wheel drive intending to drive to his father's at Gin Gin.

Ms Carrodus sought a suspended jail term with a significant fine.

"The damage you caused is quite extraordinary. It's now to be demolished," Ms Merrin said.

"Your speed was in excess of 130kmh in an 80 zone. The braking marks and damage to other structures before colliding with the hotel and house demonstrates how significant your speed was.

"You were obviously in no fit state to drive."

After referring to legal precedents and court of appeal decisions, Ms Merrin said she was "extending you significant leniency" and sentenced Hennessy to two years jail - immediately suspended for four years.

He was fined $2500 and disqualified from driving for three years.

He was ordered to pay $500 compensation to the hotel owners (for the hotel insurance excess).

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