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Miklos Bolza

Pleas changed to guilty in police-killing crash case

A transport company and its managing director have changed their pleas over a deadly truck crash. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Only one executive of a Sydney transport company has been left to fight charges brought over a truck crash which killed four police officers in Melbourne after the firm itself and its managing director changed their pleas.

Connect Logistics and Corey Matthews pleaded guilty on April 5 to charges brought by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator over the deadly road accident.

They previously took a different stance, making not guilty pleas in July last year.

On April 22, 2020, a 19-tonne semi-trailer driven by Mohinder Singh collided with two police cars and four officers on the side of Melbourne's Eastern Freeway after pulling over a speeding Porsche driven by Richard Pusey.

Leading senior constable Lynette Taylor, constable Glen Humphris, senior constable Kevin King and constable Josh Prestney were killed in the crash.

Singh was short on sleep and high on drugs at the time.

He was jailed for 22 years in April 2021. However, In August the following year this was reduced to a maximum of 18 years and six months upon a successful appeal.

The cases against Connect Logistics and its executives which relate to alleged failures to ensure drivers remained fit for duty and free from the effects of fatigue, drugs and alcohol continue in Downing Centre Local Court.

With Connect Logistics and Matthews now pleading guilty, they join state manager Shane Chalmers who pleaded guilty on July 18 last year.

Only national operations manager Cris Large is fighting the charges by maintaining his not guilty plea in an ongoing hearing in front of Magistrate Daniel Reiss.

The NHVR alleges Connect Logistics contravened its duties by exposing the public to a risk of death or serious injury by failing to ensure that drivers were assessed and monitored for fatigue and drugs and alcohol.

Matthews and Chalmers are charged with one count of breaching their duties as executives to ensure Connect Logistics complied with its safety requirements, including by implementing proper anti-fatigue and drug testing programs.

They will next come before the courts on October 19. Chalmers' next court date is May 31.

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