MELBOURNE – A truck driver was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Wednesday for hitting and killing four police officers on an Australian freeway.
Mohinder Singh was drug-effected and sleep-deprived when his truck veered into an emergency stopping lane of Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway where three policemen and a policewoman were standing after stopping a speeding car on April 22 last year.
The four died at the scene.
Singh, 48, pleaded guilty in the Victoria state Supreme Court last year to four counts of culpable driving causing death, three charges of drug trafficking and one of possessing illicit drugs.
Justice Paul Coghlan sentenced Singh to 22 years in prison, backdated to the day of the accident when he was taken into custody. He must serve at least 18 ½ years before he can apply for parole.
Coghlan said the crash had “shocked the public conscience.” The judge described footage of the crash scene as “chilling.”
“The grief of those close to the victims is profound and life-changing,” Coghlan told the court. “Such grief is heightened by the sudden and unnecessary nature of the deaths."
It was the largest loss of police lives in a single event in Victoria. Singh had taken methamphetamine and other drugs before the crash and witnesses said he had not slept in days.