By Kirra Grimes
A BAIRNSDALE man was taken to hospital after his B-double hay truck ran off the road and into a power pole at Jeetho last week, just a couple of months after a strikingly similar crash in the same location.
The truck crashed into a power pole on the Bena-Kongwak Road between Fitzgeralds Road and Jeetho West Road around 11.20am last Wednesday, May 29.
Police, paramedics, and CFA members were first on the scene, finding the truck lying on its side, and the 39-year-old driver still behind the wheel, conscious and breathing, but bleeding from the head and complaining of a sore shoulder.
He remained in the truck’s cabin for around an hour as emergency services waited for a crew from SP Ausnet to arrive and ensure that the truck, which had a damaged power line resting directly on its load of hay, did not pose a risk of electrocution.
Traffic control closed the road in both directions as the driver was conveyed by ambulance to Dandenong Hospital, where he was found to have a broken collarbone. He was later discharged.
Electricians remained on the scene for several hours after the crash, working to repair the damaged line and restore power to nearby homes.
When asked about the cause of the incident, police at the scene had no hesitation in blaming “road design”.
“What’s happened is probably the rear wheels of the rear trailer have come off the road and gone into the drain, at a point where the embankment beside the road is quite steep,” said Senior Constable Glen James of Korumburra police.
“As you get further up the road, [the embankment] folds out, so he’s basically been leaning up against the embankment as he’s been driving along and when the embankment’s not steep anymore, the truck’s just fallen over.
“What [the driver] would’ve been doing is trying to be as close as he could to the left side of the road because you can’t see over the crest of the hill, and if another car happens to be coming around the corner, you don’t want to be in the middle of the road.”
Senior Constable James said the morning’s wet weather may have contributed to the crash by making the roadside drain slipperier and softer than usual, but road design was the key factor.
Senior Constable Jack Allen of Bass Coast Highway Patrol, who carried out further investigations, confirmed the driver wasn’t at fault and no charges had been laid against him.
“It was a combination of road conditions and weather conditions,” he said.
“The road’s quite narrow in that section and on this occasion, a cross wind’s caught the load of hay bales and basically pushed the truck over.”