Fears driver charged over fatal crash will flee

Police fear an Indian truck driver charged over a crash in which four members of the same family were killed will flee to his homeland if granted bail, a court has heard.

Jobandeep Gill, 27, is charged with four counts of culpable driving and applied for bail in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, following last Friday's crash in Catani, south-east of Melbourne, in which two adults and two of their children were killed.

Former Tasmanians Stephen and Jade Beckett, 36 and 33 respectively, and their two youngest children, Ella, six, and William, two, were killed when their car and the truck collided at the intersection of Caldermeade and Heads roads, about 8.55am.

The couple's oldest child, Sam, nine, survived.

Police allege Mr Gill failed to stop at a stop sign when he crashed into the family's car as the Becketts were driving to Koo Wee Rup to take their children to school.

Police fear Mr Gill, an Indian national in Australia on a temporary bridging visa, will attempt to flee the country if granted bail, similar to the way Puneet Puneet fled to India five years ago while on bail, using a friend's passport.

Investigators are attempting to extradite Mr Puneet so he can answer charges over the death of Queensland student Dean Hofstee, 19, who was hit by a car as he walked across a road in Melbourne with a friend in 2008.

Detective Acting Sergeant Trevor Collins, of the major collision investigation unit, said the community was well aware of the time it had taken investigators to find Mr Puneet, and the difficulties they faced trying to have him returned from India.

"It's been an extremely lengthy and difficult process but his fleeing the country all those years ago was extremely easy," Detective Acting Sergeant Collins told the court.

"My concern is this person (Mr Gill) will certainly have the knowledge and access to other passports and adopt the same method of leaving the country."

The court heard Mr Gill had told police his gearbox jammed as he approached the intersection and he continued moving. But Detective Acting Sergeant Collins said the theory was "extremely implausible".

He said the intersection had warning signs and rumble strips designed to alert drivers to stop, and dismissed any concerns road users had about the approach.

"If the accused, in my mind, had any issue with seeing vehicles over the paddocks either to the left or to the right than that would have been resolved by the accused stopping at the stop sign," he said.

The weather and visibility were both good at the time of the crash, the court heard.

The court heard Mr Gill lived in Noble Park with his brother, who was of similar appearance and was currently overseas.

Detective Acting Sergeant Collins said he had Mr Gill's passport, after a woman who had claimed to be the driver's wife delivered the passport to police while he was in hospital.

Police were checking to find the woman's identity, the court heard.

Mr Gill's barrister, Abdullah Altintop, said his client was married to an Australian citizen and was making attempts to be granted permanent residency.

He said Mr Gill had supporters who would provide surety if bail was granted.

Mr Gill had been working for his employer for about six weeks, the court was told, but it was unclear how long he had held a heavy vehicle licence.

The court was also told Mr Gill had lost demerit points previously for driving offences.

When asked by Mr Altintop if Mr Gill posed any risk to the community if granted bail, Detective Acting Sergeant Collins replied: "No, other than his inability to stop at stop signs."

The detective said police had requested mobile phone records to see if Mr Gill was on the phone at the time of the crash, and were also testing a sample taken from the driver for medicine related to epilepsy.

Mr Gill had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system, the court heard.

Mr Gill, dressed in a red T-shirt, said nothing during the first stage of his application.

He is charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death and four of dangerous driving causing death, and single counts of reckless conduct endangering life and failing to obey a traffic control signal.

His bail application will resume at 2pm.