Highway?s grim harvest
By EMMA CORNFORD firstname.lastname@example.org
A GRAFTON man died yesterday morning after his BMW collided with a truck on the Pacific Highway at Musk Valley Creek, just outside South Grafton.
It is believed the 39-year-old man, the vehicle's only occupant, was travelling south at about 9.30am when he veered into the path of the truck and under the right hand wheel. Out of respect for the family, The Daily Examiner decided against publishing the name of the victim. Police were yet to officially release the name.
Robert Blanchard, chief executive officer of Blanchards Haulage which owns the truck involved in the collision, said it had been an 'horrific accident'.
"Particularly so close to the boundaries of town, you just wouldn't think anything like this could happen," he said.
"He's (the truck driver) shaken up and suffering a bit of shock, but he'll be going to the doctor and hopefully he can get some trauma counselling which will help him cope with this. He did absolutely nothing wrong but it's still something he will have to live with."
Mr Blanchard said his driver, a 25-year-old man from Lawrence, had just turned out of Tyson Street and was heading north when the vehicles collided.
"He would have been lucky to be going 50 to 60km/h at that point. You just scratch your head and think 'how did this happen?'," he said.
"It hits home ... and you think it's another horrific accident on the Pacific Highway and maybe dual carriageway would have stopped it, but that part of the road is more like a rural road there anyway".
Coffs/Clarence Local Area Commander Chief Inspector Shane Cribb said the head-on collision was being investigated by the Ballina Crash Investigation Unit.
"They have attended and a brief has been prepared for the coroner (but) it's all just a part of the investigation now," he said.
"They have to work it all out now and piece the jigsaw together."
Only a few hours after the accident, a woman believed to be in her 50s died at the scene when her Honda collided with an oncoming Subaru wagon, containing an elderly couple, at 1.35pm near Valla, south of Coffs Harbour.
Five people have died on the highway in this region since last week.