Tyres a focus at coronial inquest

A LEFT rear tyre with barely legal tread and one allegedly under-inflated right rear tyre may have contributed to a horror crash that claimed two lives on the Bruce Highway south of Gympie, a coronial inquest heard yesterday.

The inquest continued into what caused the deaths of six people in three separate crashes along a 14.5km stretch of the highway.

Yesterday it focused on the crashes that claimed the lives of Moira Theresa McGreevy and her husband Glen Raymond McGreevy in January 2008.

The first witness called was Amanda Jane Franks of Dagun who was driving southbound in a Toyota troop carrier behind her then boss, Bruce Lionel Mills, driving an Isuzu truck.

Ms Franks described how a lack of space on the stretch of highway near Coles Creek Road meant Mr Mills could do little to avoid the crash as the Holden Statesman came towards him “sideways down the road pushing the water up like a film of mist spraying up off the road”.

Asked by counsel assisting the coroner Andrew Wallace if she saw Mr Mills attempt to brake and avoid the crash, Ms Franks replied, “… he veered out of his way toward the left, toward the guard rail… he couldn’t get any further left because of the guard rail”, she said.

Truck driver David Short, first on the scene of the crash, was called to give evidence.

He described weather conditions on the morning of the crash as “quite torrential at times and then it would stop and clear…”

Asked by Mr Wallace if there were sheets of water on the road as he approached the scene of the crash, Mr Short said “it was quite wet on the road, yes. It was still running off the road”.

Another witness, truck driver Dean Gregory Calcott of Redland Bay said he was “pretty sure the road was wet” but didn’t recollect seeing sheets of water.

Speaking as a professional truck driver he said he had not encountered any difficulties on that stretch of road but “it’s a stretch of road that needs respect. You have to have your wits about you”.

Andrew Alexander McDonald, vehicle inspection officer for the Queensland police, was called to give evidence about the condition of the Statesman and the Isuzu truck.

Mr McDonald described to the court how he examined the extensively damaged Statesman and found the brakes, steering and suspension had all been in functional working order prior to the impact.

However, with a series of photographs and technical explanations Mr McDonald demonstrated to the court how the rear tyres – the left rear with virtually no tread on the inside edge and the right rear apparently under-inflated (16psi) – could have potentially caused the vehicle to aquaplane on a wet road.

The inquest continues today.

Gympie Times

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