Speed cause of crash
A LISMORE coroner has ruled that speeding, and not illicit drugs, was the cause of an accident which killed a local truck driver and his passenger.
John Evans, 40, of Casino, and James McPherson, 35, of Clunes, died on April 24 last year.
The pair were travelling in a B-double which overturned on the Bruxner Highway at Alphadale.
A coronial inquest into the accident was held at Lismore Court on Monday and Lismore magistrate Nick Reimer delivered his findings yesterday morning.
"Excessive speed is the major if not the sole cause of the tragedy which cost the life of two family men in their prime of lives," said Mr Reimer.
"Illicit substances, methamphetamine and amphetamine, were found in Mr Evans' blood but in very small quantities.
"On the evidence in this particular instance, because he'd had a good night's sleep immediately before the accident, it could not be said conclusively (the amphetamines) contributed to the acci- dent.
"The fact he had these substances in his system must, however, be decried and it is recommended the police redouble their detection efforts in relation to the obviously widespread use of these stimulants by professional truck drivers."
Mr Reimer said the men were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.
"It is unclear whether the wearing of a seatbelt would have saved the driver, considering the extent of the damage to the truck's cabin, but it seems clear that had the passenger worn a seatbelt he would most likely have survived the impact," he said.
Mr Reimer also made mention of the truck's two damaged tyres and a minor suspension fault.
"The evidence did not support the view these shortcomings would have contributed to the event," he said.
"The Bruxner Highway is clearly totally unsuited to use by Bdoubles and it is nothing short of an absolute miracle this truck did not impact four or five oncoming cars."
Relatives of both men have declined to comment on the result.