Freight truck, ute in collision
IN a surreal scene, pig carcasses were carried through the fog by men in protective clothing at the scene of an accident on the New England Highway north of Warwick yesterday morning.
The accident happened about 7am when a Wickham Freight Lines truck collided with a Ford Courier utility in heavy fog near the Clifton turnoff, 37km from the Rose City.
The truck, which was carrying 220 pork sides from Swickers Meatworks at Kingaroy, was travelling south when it collided with the south-bound utility.
Clifton Police officer-in-charge Guy Smidt said the 31-year-old truck driver was transferred by ambulance to Warwick.
A spokeswoman from Warwick Hospital said the truck driver was admitted in a stable condition and treated for minor injuries before being discharged.
“The 85-year-old driver of the utility was pretty shaken up, but both men were fortunate the accident wasn't worse,” Sgt Smidt said.
“Both vehicles were travelling south so dense fog obviously played a part with visibility limited to about 20 metres.
“Preliminary investigations also suggest the heavy vehicle driver may not have been driving at a speed to suit the conditions.”
Sgt Smidt said the Wickham Freight Lines truck came to a rest on its side an estimated 120m from the point of collision.
“The truck tipped over and went across the highway on its side finally coming to a stop on the opposite side of the bitumen,” Sgt Smidt said.
“What is a miracle is that there was no oncoming traffic at the time.”
Within an hour of the accident Wickham Freight Line employees had arrived at the scene in protective clothing to begin the physical task of individually transferring the pork carcasses, which weighed up to 95kg each, to a replacement refrigerated truck.
A spokesman from Wickham Freight Lines said it was “extremely unlikely” pork quality had been adversely effected by the accident.
It is believed the load was en route to Sydney when the accident happened with police confirming the driver had collected the meat from Kingaroy at 4am yesterday.
Sgt Smidt said the nature of the load – 95kg pork carcasses hanging from hooks in the refrigerated container – may have also played a part in the incident.
“If the truck driver had braked suddenly the load may have started swinging, which could have impacted on control,” he said.
“The truck sustained extensive damage and the Ford Courier utility was totally destroyed.”
It was the 19th road accident the Clifton Police have attended since January.
“We only attended 11 accidents in total for the whole of last year so the increase is a very real concern,” Sgt Smidt said.
“People need to start exercising care and driving to the conditions, particularly when environmental conditions like fog limit visibility.”
He said speed and failing to observe basic road rules had contributed to the dramatic rise in local accidents.
“We even had people drive through this accident scene too fast and without their lights on,” he said.
“Their failure to slow down shows a genuine lack of respect and care for emergency services and the critical job they do.”