A truck driver who had been on a drug bender for days before causing a fatal crash which killed four police officers will finally explain his actions.
Mohinder Singh, 48, thought he was being chased by a witch in the moments leading up to the horrific crash on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway on April 22 last year.
On Monday, a Melbourne court heard Singh would enter the witness box to give evidence against his former boss Simiona Tuteru, who was charged in August with four counts of manslaughter over the deaths.
Singh had only slept for five hours over the previous three days when he ran his truck into Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney.
Simiona Tuteru fronts a Melbourne court on Monday. He faces multiple manslaughter charges for allegedly allowing Mohinder Singh to drive while knowing he was in no shape to do so
Left to right: Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Constable Joshua Prestney all died in the crash
Mohinder Singh arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne before his sentence last month
Singh was sentenced last month to a total of 22 years by Justice Paul Coghlan: 12 years for one death and three additional years for each of the other three deaths with the terms partially concurrent. There was an additional year on the sentence for his drug offences.
The non-parole period was 18.5 years, and taking into account the year he has already been behind bars, he could be out in late 2039.
The husband of Senior Constable Taylor was among those to attend the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday to watch the first day of Tuteru’s preliminary hearing to determine whether he will face a jury trial.
The officer had been filmed by Melbourne businessman Richard Pusey in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Tuteru, a Victorian manager at trucking company Connect Logistics, is accused of knowing before the crash that the mental state of Singh had deteriorated due to a lack of sleep and drug use.
On Monday, the court heard Singh had not been expected to give evidence against his boss and had been a late inclusion to the preliminary hearing.
Tuteru’s barrister David Hallowes, SC said he needed more time to prepare for Singh’s cross examination, which will now take place early next month.
Mr Hallowes said Singh’s credibility as a witness was very much in question.
Singh’s own wife and child are expected to give evidence at the hearing on Monday.
The pair had hoped to avoid waiting television cameras and provide their evidence remotely via videolink from a police station.
But respected magistrate Luisa Bazzani ordered the pair attend court in person to give their evidence.
Up to 22 witnesses are expected to give evidence in the week-long hearing.
Stuart Schulze (pictured), the husband of Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, was among those in court on Monday.
In chains: Mohinder Singh arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne last month
Mohinder Singh’s truck careered off the highway and into the car of Richard Pusey, who had been pulled over by the officers for speeding
During Singh’s Supreme Court sentence last month, Justice Paul Coghlan said the police officers stood no hope.
The court heard Singh had been told to get some rest before he got behind the wheel that day.
Singh had spent the previous few days on a bender smoking ice and cannabis and downing bottles of booze.
When not taking drugs, he was on the streets selling them himself.
Singh’s own drug clients had repeatedly told him to get some sleep.
‘He was off it. He was talking nonsense. He was saying the witches are coming and we have to leave,’ one customer later told police.
‘I had never seen anyone as drug f**ked in my life. He hadn’t slept for eight days.’
Motorists who observed Singh on the freeway that day described Singh’s truck as being out of control and veering repeatedly into the emergency lane.
Amarjit Singh (left), the wife of Mohinder Singh, arrives with their children (centre and right) at Melbourne Magistrates’ Coutr on Monday
Simiona Tuteru (left) is being represented by barrister David Hallowes SC (right)
Mohinder Singh arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne before his pre-sentence hearing last month
Killer’s Ride Into Chaos
No-one but Singh will truly know the reasons why his life had descended into a blur of drugs and booze.
He had emigrated to Australia with his parents in November 1980 and lived in New South Wales until 2005 when he moved to Victoria.
He had been driving trucks since 1989, doing long hauls in the dead of night.
Like many a long haul driver before him, Singh began taking amphetamines to keep him alert on the road.
He had been on a six month probation run with Connect Logistics when his life spiralled out of control.
On April 21 he injected meth into his system inside the very truck he would later use as an unguided missile along the Eastern Freeway.
Singh had told the friend he believed he had been cursed by a witch.
He had hardly slept for days on end.
At about 6.30pm, Singh met a customer on the side of the road and sold him 19 grams of cannabis for $100 in a plastic shopping bag.
By 1am the next day, April 22, he was back at work.
At 7.30am Singh was dealing more drugs.
By 5pm he was back behind the wheel of his truck.
Yet again, he stopped off to make a drug deal on the side of the road.
This time, it would be his last.
The court heard Singh was so trashed he had delusions he was being followed by a witch who had chased him through paddocks and sat in his passenger seat.
‘He said she (the witch) wouldn’t leave the car no matter how much he begged,’ a drug-using friend of Singh’s told police.
Other witnesses said Singh was so tired he couldn’t speak in the days leading up to the accident.
The truck driver admitted to selling ice and cannabis to a number of associates.
Singh joined joined Connect Logistics in 2016.
He had only been there a short while before he started hitting the ice pipe, snorting and injecting up to a gram a week.
Like many a long haul driver, Singh claimed the drugs helped keep him focused during long stints behind the wheel at night.
A month before his deadly drive, Singh told his brother he had seen stick figures.
In the days leading up to the collision Singh continued to see the mysterious figures, which he believed to be a result of a witch’s curse.
His own son told him to go and see a psychiatrist to get some help.
Instead, he prayed with a lay pastor at the transport depot in the belief it could banish his imaginary tormentors.
Singh had been on the bender of all drug benders when he agreed to get behind the wheel of a 20-tonne truck and perform a delivery of frozen chickens.
He had been abusing methamphetamines, cannabis, pills and booze to the point of psychosis.
By the time he ran his truck off the Eastern Freeway he had the blood alcohol content equivalent of a 0.3 reading – five times the legal limit.
A virtual zombie, Singh did not even hit the brakes upon hitting the officers.
Police believe he had only slept about five hours in the past 72 hours before the tragedy.
Family of Mohinder Singh arrive at the Supreme Court of Victoria for his sentence hearing in Melbourne last month
The funeral procession lines up during the funeral of Constable Josh Prestney on May 4 last year.
Floral tributes before the funeral of Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor at the Victoria Police Academy in Melbourne last April
Mohinder Singh thought he was being chased by a witch in the moments leading up the the horrific crash on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway on April 22
At a previous hearing, the court heard Singh was twice seen reversing his truck into the wrong loading bay in trhe hours before the tragedy.
A colleague reported the incidents to a supervisor, who told Singh to go home and get some counselling.
The supervisor also allegedly reported his concerns to Tuteru, and said he had doubts over Singh’s fitness to drive.
Tuteru allegedly told Singh to ignore that advice.
‘Steve is NOT a doctor,’ he texted Singh.
The hearing continues.