Truck ploughs past farmlet
By TOBY WALKER
A NIGHTMARE run on the Pacific Highway continued yesterday morning when a truck smashed into a power pole and overturned at Cowper, almost demolishing a roadside home.
The 23-year-old driver from Capalaba in Queensland was lucky to walk away from the wreckage with only minor injuries after his truck's front cab crumpled on impact.
According to police accounts of the accident, the man had been travelling north to Brisbane about 3.40am when his truck left the road 8km north of Ulmarra.
It came within a few metres of the front door of a house before crashing into the power pole, cutting it in two and sending each half flying into an adjoining horse paddock.
The truck then crashed through a barbed-wire fence, tipped onto the driver's side and slid on its side into the paddock before coming to rest about 10 metres from the highway's edge.
It's rigid container was left bent and twisted out of shape and a small amount of its cargo scattered about the accident scene.
Other truck drivers passing by along the highway were the first to stop and assist the man who suffered a badly lacerated hand during the truck's slide.
The man had already freed himself from the truck's cab and had been helped by fellow drivers who wrapped his hand up by the time ambulance drivers arrived to treat his injuries.
A Rural Fire Service crew from Ulmarra was also called to contain what was thought could be a potentially hazardous scene after police were informed the truck had been carrying flammable goods, but no fire eventuated.
The truck's cargo was transferred to another vehicle before it was put back onto its wheels and towed from the scene just before midday.
About 100 metres away from the crash scene, John Moran has woken to the flashing lights of emergency vehicles outside his home.
But with accidents all too common along Cowper's notoriously dangerous stretch of highway, the long-time resident admitted to sleeping through the commotion until he was woken by his wife.
Living on the roadside property his whole life has given Mr Moran quite a collection of accident stories.
Tales of waking up to find his home's fence in pieces after cars had come off the highway and collided with it have a ring of normality when Mr Moran tells them.
"I guess if it had of been a bit more this way it would have taken the (neighbour's) house out," he said.
"We're always at risk but we don't seem to worry too much about it.
"We go by the rule that if you don't hear any noise then it's too quiet and you can't sleep, you get that used to it."
"If it had been a semi-trailer or a b-double it could have been a lot worse."
But despite the constant risk posed by his home's proximity to the highway, Mr Moran had no confidence in Federal Government plans to build a dual carriageway between Sydney and Brisbane by 2012, the latest estimate to be put forward.
"They'll never build it, not in 10 years, not even in 25 years," he said.