July 16, 2024

A driver who killed five people after failing to give way on a busy highway near the VictoriaNSW border has pleaded guilty.

Christopher Dylan Joannidis, 30, fronted the County Court in Melbourne today where he entered pleas to five counts of dangerous driving causing death.

Five people were killed in the April 20, 2023, crash along the Murray Valley Highway at Strathmerton in Victoria’s north.

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Court documents state Joannidis, the driver of a Mercedes sedan, failed to give way at the highway intersection, instead crossing over and colliding with a Nissan Navara.

The Nissan spun out of control and crashed into a B-double truck, killing all five people inside.

Joannidis and his female passenger sustained minor injuries, while the truck driver was hospitalised with migraines.

Joannidis was stopped by police about 40 minutes before the crash for travelling at 118km/h in a 100km/h zone, court documents state.

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He also initially returned a positive oral fluid test for cannabis, although a follow-up test was negative.

Joannidis’ barrister Paul Smallwood said today his client would undergo a psychiatric assessment ahead of his plea hearing because of his complex issues.

The report would not be available until November 15, Smallwood said.

A one-day plea hearing was booked for November 27 with Joannidis’ bail extended to his next court date.

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