HEARTBREAK AT HALFWAY
By CRAIG McTEAR
RAY Webb finds solace in his wife, Denise, and his mates, when the going gets tough.
And that happens quite regularly if, like Ray, you have to attend ugly scenes on the Pacific Highway.
The Woolgoolga Fire Station commander and his colleagues were the first emergency crew to arrive early yesterday at the bottom of Dirty Creek Range, 500m north of Barcoongere Way. That's where a man ? who is yet to be formally identified ? died when his car slammed head-on into a B-double.
"It's a job someone has to do. I don't take any glory for it. It's cost someone their life. Someone's got to do the job.
"All emergency services workers deserve a lot more than what they get. It's horrible to go to a fatal accident.
"We're a family in the fire brigade. We talk about issues with each other, and there's also chaplaincy and employee assistance schemes."
Police said a northbound green 1995 Ford Fairlane Ghia sedan crossed to the wrong side of the road into the path of the southbound B-double at 4am.
The Victorian-registered car went under the front of the rig, causing the truck's steering to fail. The trailers jackknifed and blocked both highway lanes, which weren't reopened for six hours.
Ambulance officers treated the B-double driver ? a 44-year-old Kendall man ? at the scene. He was taken to hospital for X-rays.
The B-double's ruptured fuel tanks spewed up to 800 litres of diesel onto the road, with fire crews working overtime to stem further flows and dispose of the remaining fuel.
Rural Fire Service volunteers provided fire protection throughout the operation, while the RTA co-ordinated traffic operations and the mop-up. Highway traffic was diverted through Bucca Road at Moonee in the south, and the Orara Way via South Grafton in the north, throughout the morning.