Driver to stand trial over nurse fatality — (Canberra Times)

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Canberra Times

Natasha Rudra

The driver accused of an horrific crash outside Canberra Hospital that left one woman dead has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court.

Justin Lee Monfries, 24, of Kambah, allegedly told police he was drunk, his driving was ”crap” and he blacked out just before he ran a red light and struck two hospital employees crossing Yamba Drive on May 3.

Mother-of-two Linda Cox was killed and her colleague Ashlee Bumpus was seriously injured.

Police allege Monfries was driving a stolen car, didn’t stop after the crash and sped away before hitting another car.

He faces eight charges including manslaughter, car theft and culpable driving.

According to a statement of facts tendered in the ACT Magistrates Court, Monfries stole a maroon Toyota station wagon from the car park of the Coles supermarket in Manuka on May 3.

He told police he had consumed five or six pre-mixed drinks and was ”dizzy and very intoxicated” from a cocktail of alcohol and anti-depressant medication.

Monfries was allegedly behind the wheel at about 4.35pm when he failed to give way at an intersection in Hughes and sideswiped another car, sending it into a spin, and then drove off.

He went to the Hughes service station where he filled up on petrol and fled without paying.

Police spotted him shortly afterwards on Wisdom Street and he allegedly sped on to Yamba Drive at up to 100km/h before running through a red light and ploughing into Ms Cox and Ms Bumpus as they left work.

The crash was captured on security cameras outside the hospital.

Monfries allegedly kept driving after striking the two women and rear-ended a silver SUV about 150 metres down the road.

He got out of the car and tried to flee on foot towards the hospital car park but was arrested by police with the help of passers-by.

Monfries told police his driving was crap and he was dizzy and drunk at the time, admitting he did not have proper control over the car.

He also said he often blacked out after drinking and said he could not remember the fatal accident or the rear-ender on Yamba Drive.

Monfries was committed yesterday afternoon to stand trial in the higher court on two charges of culpable driving, one count of manslaughter and one count of car theft.

The rest of the charges will remain in the Magistrates Court to be dealt with and were adjourned to October.

There was heavy security in the packed courtroom as relatives of the victims watched from the public gallery.

Monfries did not apply for bail and Magistrate Peter Dingwall marked him as a detainee at risk.

Monfries is expected to next appear in the Supreme Court later this month.