News

Drunk dad lets 12yo boy drive

Rodney Edward Whitbread
Rodney Edward Whitbread

IMAGINE seeing a 12-year-old boy driving a Toyota troop carrier.

It would almost be comical, if it wasn't so dangerous.

Throw into the mix an alcohol-affected dad riding shotgun, a brother without a seatbelt and instead of a smooth roadway, the vehicle is travelling on sand on Fraser Island.

Now you've got all the ingredients for a "major catastrophe".

This is how police described the actions of Canberra man Rodney Edward Whitbread, who'd had a few beers when he allowed his 12-year-old son to take the wheel on Fraser Island's Eastern Beach on January 19.

His other son, 14, was in the back seat without a seatbelt.

State traffic branch police witnessed the four-wheel drive travelling past them with its child driver about 1.35pm.

There was no mention in court of how fast the vehicle was going, but the speed limit on that stretch of beach is believed to be 80kmh.

Whitbread, 49, had an alcohol content of .113.

He told police he had brought his sons up from the ACT for a holiday on Fraser Island and thought he would teach them how to drive because the weather had been too poor to go fishing.

Sergeant Tony McCarthy, head of the Maryborough Police Traffic Branch, said with an inexperienced and unlicensed driver at the wheel on difficult terrain, a supervising driver affected by alcohol and a passenger without a seatbelt, it wouldn't take much for the situation to turn deadly.

"The ingredients are there for a major catastrophe," Sgt McCarthy said.

"People go to Fraser Island in holiday mode, but this doesn't relieve them of driving within the road rules."

Sgt McCarthy said conditions on the island could be treacherous and he'd even seen experienced drivers roll their vehicles on that notorious stretch of beach.

Whitbread yesterday pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to drink-driving, permitting someone to drive unlicensed and failing to ensure a child aged between 7-16 was wearing a seatbelt.

He was fined $750 and disqualified from driving for two months.

Topics:  alcohol, dangerous driving, drink-driving, fraser island, hervey bay magistrates court



Warwick's unemployment rates revealed

Mayor Tracy Dobie revealed employment rose across the region over a 12 month period , with last year's unemployment rate sitting at 5.4%.

Unemployment rates spell good news for job hunters.

Our weather is about to get a bit crazy

DAYS AHEAD: Thursday could brings showers, wind and storms to the region.

Thursday is set to be damp with the chance of damaging storms.

Grove Juice Warwick plant expanding into the future

JUICE PLANT: Grove Juice is expanding further into the Axis Industrial Park.

Expansion means great news for the Warwick economy.

Local Partners

9000 reasons to support our community clubs

Community clubs are good at what they do. They are not so good at telling the world about what they do, as Clubs Queensland CEO Doug Flockhart explains.


Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

Carlos Santana added to Bluesfest 2017 line up

Carlos Santana at Bluesfest 2013.

Calling all local black magic women

Disney to remake 'The Lion King', and it's live-action

The Lion King is coming back to movie theatres

And this time it's going to be live-action.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Rural properties expected to soar as investors seek income

Rural properties are should become highly sought after

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.