Highway deaths inquest continues
ASKED to rate a section of the Bruce Highway that claimed the lives of six people in three separate crashes, truck driver Bruce Lionel Mills told Gympie Coroners Court he rated the road a nine out of 10.
The coronial inquest into what caused the deaths of six people on the Bruce Highway south of Gympie continued yesterday, looking into the crash that claimed the lives of Moira Theresa McGreevy and her husband Glen Raymond McGreevy in January 2008, and the head-on collision that killed Korean visitor Sanglin Chung in January 2009.
Mr Mills, a powerline contractor was driving his Isuzu truck south on the Bruce Highway, January 30, when the McGreevy’s Statesman appeared. He told the court that he had earlier commented to himself that the road was very slippery. “I thought to myself, I’ll bet there’s an accident today and we’ll be held up.”
He said the Statesman appeared around a corner near the Coles Creek Road area with its back hanging out and sliding. “He’d lost the back end of it. He was moving … he appeared to be trying to right himself and then came back at me with the left hand side,” Mr Mills said.
Assisting the coroner, Counsel Andrew Wallace asked if it was a case of over-correction and Mr Mills replied “totally”.
The court also heard that Mr Mills was travelling about 80 to 85 km/h but his speedometer was not working and he judged his speed on revs. Realising there was going to be an impact he attempted to take evasive action but there was very little room to do so. Mr Wallace asked him to tell the court what happened to his brakes when the truck and Statesman collided and Mr Mills said he “ceased to have any” due to front-end damage from the impact.
The coroner also heard there had been seven crashes within a kilometre of where Mr Chung lost his life and in the five years prior, but only one of the crashes was similar in that the road surface was wet and the drivers lost control.
Department of Transport and Main Roads (DMRT) traffic crash investigator Luke Kidd said in both situations the cars had drifted over the lines into the southbound lane of the highway and over-corrected. Mr Wallace asked Mr Kidd if he had any recommendations to help prevent further accidents from happening on the road which prompted Ms Philipson, appearing for DMRT, to voice her concern that the inquiry was a witch hunt about the road. She was assured by the coroner the road was one of many issues. The inquest continues today.