Lynne Mowbray |
Last week’s truck accident on the Pacific Highway at Ulmarra has once again left residents shaken.
At around 9.30pm on Monday June 18, residents of the small village were alerted to yet another truck crash in the village’s black spot.
The interstate, north bound B-Double truck lost control on a bend as it entered the village, rolling onto its side and taking out two power poles before coming to rest outside the Brown family residence.
The truck’s impact smashed the Brown’s front fence, with its load of general waste, spilling in their yard.
Ryan Brown said that he raced outside and pulled the driver out of his cabin.
“This was one of the worst accidents that I’ve seen here,” Mr Brown said.
“I didn’t expect to find the driver alive.
“I got him out of the cabin and some neighbours helped to sit him down in my front yard with a blanket around him until the ambulance arrived,” he said.
At the time of the crash, Ryan was at home with his wife Krystal and their three daughters.
One of the young girls said that they heard the truck coming and thought that it was going to crash through the house.
“All we could do was hug each other,” she said.
Mr Brown said that there have been around 16 accidents within a 250 metre section of road, in the last 10 years and six accidents alone between my neighbour and myself.
Coffs-Clarence Police District Chief Inspector Joanne Reid said that the truck driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries and police were still awaiting the results of blood samples, before interviewing him.
“The truck slid on its side for 65 metres and ploughed straight into the fence,” Insp. Reid said.
“The occupants of that house were incredibly lucky that he didn’t keep going straight for them, because he came very, very close to the house.
“There was a significant amount of damage done to the fence and power poles, which then caused all kinds of havoc with the electricity.
“This was an interstate truck driver and they are unfamiliar with the area and I don’t think that they are paying enough attention to the speed limit. And late at night, with not much traffic on the road, people may be more inclined to run the gauntlet.
“The truck driver was very lucky and he has been released from hospital with minor cuts and bruises.
“Ulmarra will certainly remain an area of concern, until the by-pass is built,” she said.
No excuse for speeding on the Pacific Highway at Ulmarra or anywhere else
Meanwhile discussions between Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis and senior Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) officials have led to immediate further steps to improve safety and catch and punish speeding drivers on the Pacific Highway at Ulmarra north of Grafton, the MP announced late on Friday.
“There is never any excuse for speeding. It puts at risk the lives of innocent people and repeat offenders in particular should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, every time,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“I am advised RMS has taken steps to further improve safety in the area and urgent work is being done with relevant agencies to implement additional safety measures.
“Earlier representations I made to RMS resulted in the 50 km/h speed limit being extended both north and south of the village.
“Now, more intensive night time enforcement will be in place immediately to catch speeding drivers with the deployment of mobile speed cameras as from tomorrow night (last Saturday), on rotation to catch speeding drivers.
“These measures will remain in place while we progress longer term solutions for this site, including engineering treatments such as safety barriers and a fixed speed camera.
“Signage is also being updated through Ulmarra and an inspection of the guidepost and raised pavement markers (reflectors).
“I am also informed that RMS is working with the Brown family whose property was damaged in the recent accident and the trucking company’s insurer to ensure all damage to the Brown’s property is quickly rectified,” Mr Gulaptis said.