Monster Truck show fined for crowd crash
A Queensland monster truck show operator has been fined $25,000 over a terrifying incident in which a stunt car lost control and careened into a barrier which landed on spectators including a young girl.
Troy Neil Garcia and his business Ultimate Monster Shows were charged with breaching workplace health and safety duties over the incident at the Mt Gravatt showgrounds in 2018.
Garcia today faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court, where he pleaded guilty to the offences, saying he had always placed safety as a main priority and while be blamed security contractors for not keeping spectators away from the barriers, he would "cop it on the chin".
Video of the incident was played to the court in which a car can be seen going over a jump before ploughing into a barrier at what Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Jade Henderson described as "relatively low speed".
Mr Garcia, who represented himself in court, said sparks can be seen in one video of the incident which he says is the moment the steering and brakes on the vehicle failed.
He submitted that WPHS requirements meant the barriers erected at the event could have been a simple piece of rope as long as spectators were kept at a distance.
Mr Garcia said WPHS officers who inspected the site did not raise any concerns about the adequacy of the barriers when they inspected the site in the days before the event.
"I'm truthfully saying safety is a foremost concern of mine," he said.
"Obviously I've pleaded guilty to this … the duty of care does fall back onto the incompetent (security) contractor but I'm being the front man for this and not arguing it, I'm taking this one on the chin.
"I've modified the way I operate, I've increased the security at my shows, people won't get anywhere near the fences I don't care if they're concrete or they're bulletproof. That's one thing that's been implemented."
Ms Henderson said she accepted that Mr Garcia and his company did not own the vehicle which struck the barrier.
"Mr Garcia and his company were not responsible for ensuring that vehicle was mechanically sound," she said.
"But in my submission it's foreseeable that such vehicles might encounter mechanical issues due to the nature of the displays that are conducted.
"It's clear the defendants erroneously believed the distance between the spectators and the area where the stunt cars were performing would be sufficient but as your honour has viewed in the footage that was shown to be incorrect when the vehicle veered off course and impacted that fence."
Magistrate Judith Daley took into account Mr Garcia's guilty plea and the impacts the coronavirus had on his business and finances.
His company was fined $25,000 and Mr Garcia was placed on a $4000 recognisance.
No convictions were recorded.