Topics:  accident, fatality, new england highway, truck driver

Local truckie in horror collision

The scene on the New England Highway south of Toowoomba yesterday afternoon.
The scene on the New England Highway south of Toowoomba yesterday afternoon. Dave Noonan

A WICKHAM Freight Lines driver was hospitalised yesterday after a horrific collision south of Toowoomba in which a 49-year-old man died.

In what emergency services crews described as one of the worst crash scenes they have attended in recent memory, the Wickham Freight Lines B-double and a van collided head-on around 2.30pm on the New England Hwy at Top Camp.

The driver of the Toowoomba-bound van, understood to be a plumber and whose name was not released yesterday, died instantly, with the 25-year-old Wickham Freight Lines driver sustaining what is understood to be a broken wrist.

Wickham Freight Lines director Darren Eather said last night he had visited the driver in hospital and that he had fortunately sustained only minor injuries, as well as being badly shaken.

"At this stage it's too early to speculate on what has happened and we'll be letting the police complete their investigation," Mr Eather said.

"It's just a very, very unfortunate thing to have happened all round."

Mr Eather described the driver as "experienced", with the prime-mover likely to be unsalvageable.

The scene of devastation at the intersection of the New England Hwy and Hayden St caused the highway to be closed in both directions until around 7pm last night, causing serious delays for motorists.

Plumbing equipment, piping and parks were strewn across a 100-metre section of the roadway from where the badly-mangled Toyota HiAce van came to rest.

Visibly shaken Queensland Fire and Rescue officers faced the grim and harrowing task of having to cut away the entire front section of the van to remove the man from the wreckage of the vehicle.

Toowoomba police forensic crash investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash, with road conditions damp at the time.

It remains unclear to what extent this contributed to the fatality, the second on Toowoomba roads this week.

North-bound traffic was yesterday diverted off the highway and onto the Drayton Connection road, and southbound traffic was diverted at Hodgson Vale.

Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

- Additional reporting by The Chronicle.



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