Austinmer fatal crash accused gets $150k bail

A Queensland man on the run from police for 14 years over a fatal car crash at Austinmer has been released on $150,000 bail.

Bradley Hazelton, 38, was arrested last week at his home on Russell Island, east of Brisbane, before being extradited to NSW on Saturday and charged with 17 offences relating to the July 2000 crash.

Police will allege Hazelton was drunk and driving dangerously when his car collided with an oncoming vehicle, then hit a tree, on Buttenshaw Drive on July 7. 

The crash claimed the life of one of Hazelton’s passengers, 20-year-old Dwayne Nicholson.

Fronting Campbelltown Local Court on Wednesday, Hazelton did not enter pleas to the charges but sought release on bail, saying he promised to turn up for future court dates and abide by any conditions imposed as part of his release.

His lawyer, Phillip Gibson, said Hazelton’s partner and parents could lodge a surety of up to $200,000.

However, Director of Public Prosecution lawyer Nadia Sawagid strongly opposed Hazelton’s application, saying he had  systematically avoided police detection since the crash, going as far as changing his name, moving interstate and ceasing contact with family and friends.

‘‘Your Honour, [the Crown would submit] the accused poses a serious flight risk,’’ she said.

‘‘The accused has avoided police from shortly after the incident up to the present day by doing cash jobs and not lodging a tax return since 2002, despite starting up a successful business.’’

Ms Sawagid said Hazelton was only apprehended following an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public via Crime Stoppers.

Magistrate Janet Wahlquist agreed Hazelton posed a risk of failing to appear at court but believed it could be mitigated by the large cash surety on offer.

She also noted he owned his house at Russell Island and appeared to have been living a ‘‘law-abiding and stable’’ life while in Queensland.

As part of his bail conditions, Hazelton is allowed to return to Queensland to live, but must report to police three times a  week.

He will have to front Port Kembla Local Court when his case is next mentioned on September 24.

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