Children devastated by tragedy
THE CHILDREN of Toowoomba truck driver, 49-year-old Robert Cook, who was killed in a horrific accident in Maryborough last Thursday, have described him as the world’s greatest father and a proud man who loved life.
His passenger and best friend, 45-year-old Darren John Lucas, also from Toowoomba, was also killed in the crash.
The pair died when the semi-trailer Mr Cook was driving lost control on an overpass on the Bruce Hwy, south of Maryborough.
The semi-trailer crashed off the bridge with the trailer still attached, crushing the cab on the roadway below.
Despite the best efforts of emergency personnel, the pair died at the scene.
The horrific accident, which closed the Bruce Hwy for more than 13 hours, cheated Mr Cook of the chance to watch his four children and nine grandchildren grow up.
Yesterday, Mr Cook’s grieving children, 22-year-old Amanda Cook and 27-year-old Tim Cook, spoke exclusively to The Chronicle.
“He was a gentle giant. He was honestly the best father in the world,” a sobbing Miss Cook said.
“It was an absolute honour and privilege to call him our father.”
The grief-stricken pair said their father had been looking forward to the fateful trip with his best mate for days.
“Dad and Darren were best mates. They were like two peas in a pod and he (Darren) was like family,” Miss Cook said.
“He was so excited about the trip, to get away for a little while.
“I remember seeing him that morning with his new shirt with his name on it – he was so proud,” she said.
“He really loved life and made us children appreciate life as well,” Miss Cook said.
A diehard South Sydney Rabbitohs fan, Mr Cook’s children said their father became mates with whoever he came into contact with.
“He was great fun and just a fantastic dad. No matter what we did, he was always so proud of us,” Mr Cook said.
“Dad would talk to anyone and made friends very easily.
“He treated everyone with respect and accepted them for who they were.
“He was everyone’s rock. He was not only my father, he was also my best friend,” he said.
Mr Cook’s grief-stricken mother, Sherley Bennett, said fellow motorist Andrew Telford, who witnessed the horrific crash, said Mr Cook had his wits about him until the end.
“They made a pact to have a beer together in Toowoomba, just after he got himself out of this little mess,” Mrs Bennett said.
“We are all just devastated. The suddenness and nature of the way he was taken is just very hard to comprehend,” she said.
Mr Cook is survived by two other children – 25-year-old Jamie Cook and 29-year-old Garry-Lee Cook – and his sister Jo-Anne Smith.