Horror crash - One man dead
By ADAM HICKS
TRUCK driver Grant Gaiter watched in horror yesterday as his best mate's rig collided with a car, killing its driver.
Mr Gaiter was tailing his mate's B-double en route from Sydney to Brisbane when the accident happened on the Pacific Highway at the Tintenbar Road turn-off about 7.45am.
The crash caused traffic chaos, with police saying they expected the highway to remain closed until 11pm.
Trucks were let through at intervals, but all other vehicles were diverted through Lennox Head.
No details have been released about the dead man or two other people taken to hospital as a result of the accident.
"We just came round the corner. I didn't see where he (the car driver) came from," Mr Gaiter said. "He came out of nowhere. He was just there."
The driver of a white Toyota Camry died at the scene.
The Brooks Transport truck, hauling paper and general goods, tipped on to its passenger side.
Mr Gaiter said the collision was unavoidable.
"He (the truck driver) had no choice. He had nowhere to go. He did his best to avoid him and almost took his own life as well," Mr Gaiter said.
"We face risks every day. Sometimes you just can't do a damn thing about it.
"It shakes you up.
"I feel for the family of the (dead) man."
The driver's side of the Camry station wagon was ripped open by the impact and the wreck spun 180 degrees before stopping in the south-bound lane.
The truck slid on its side across both lanes of traffic.
Red skid marks from the truck's leather cover stretched for about 40 metres.
A white Mazda 121 heading in the other direction collided with the sliding semi-trailer.
The collision wrenched a steel panel from the truck's roof and did minor damage to the Mazda.
The woman driver of the Mazda was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The truck stopped with its cabin leaning down East Street and diesel flowing from the tank.
The passenger seat was crushed.
Mr Gaiter said he stopped his own B-double and pulled his mate from the wreckage.
The truck driver suffered shock and was taken to Ballina Hospital with minor injuries.
Police are calling for witnesses to come forward in an effort to piece together the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call Ballina police on 6681 8699.
NSW Fire Brigade crews from Bangalow, Ballina and Goonellabah, and Rural Fire Service crews from Lennox Head and Tintenbar attended the scene.