Train drivers shaken after crashed car is hit on tracks

Astrid Allison, JustaMumento Photography

THE car and train collision early Wednesday morning had the makings of a Christmas tragedy.

Luckily the P-plate driver and his three passengers walked away from the accident, some dressed just in their underwear, with minor bruises and cuts.

At 12.05am on December 19 a 2004 Holden Commodore sedan careened through the intersection of Breslin St and the Dawson Hwy, mounted the footpath and travelled up the embankment before stopping on the railway line.

Just minutes later, an eastbound unloaded coal train smashed into the front passenger side of the car, shunting the vehicle off the tracks.

Gladstone police Senior Sergeant Gary Sweeney said the three passengers had been intoxicated.

The 19-year-old male driver from Wellington Point was charged with drink-driving, and driving without due care and attention, after he allegedly blew 0.170.

The passengers, one 19-year-old man and two women aged 18 and 19, were taken to Gladstone Hospital for observation.

Snr Sgt Sweeney said the incident could have been avoided.

"It is very disappointing and concerning to see this type of serious traffic offence being committed by a young P-plate driver accompanied by three young passengers," he said.

"We have seen far too many drivers speeding and drink-driving on our roads and we are urging drivers to consider the consequences of their actions."

Firefighter Tom Neville, who also lives on Breslin St, said despite a few incidents in the area over the years, it was not a dangerous road.

"There's been quite a few, five or six in the couple of years we've been living in the area," he said.

"Not necessarily (dangerous) no. The intersection is controlled by traffic lights with double lanes each way.

"It was just one of those accidents that could have been avoided if the actions of the people involved had have been different."

Snr Sgt Sweeny said the car's occupants had been fortunate to walk away.

"To lose someone in a motor vehicle accident at any time of the year is tragic. However, losing someone at Christmas is even worse," he said.

"The resulting emotional scars are deeply ingrained upon family and friends."

Aurizon (previously QR National) stated their train drivers had applied the emergency brakes but were unable to stop before colliding with the vehicle.

Both train drivers were uninjured but badly shaken and were offered counselling.

Aurizon senior vice-president of safety, health and environment Neil Backer said this type of event was extremely traumatic for train drivers who were unable to swerve or dodge on the track.

"These trains can weigh in excess of 10,000 tonnes and it's impossible for our drivers to stop them suddenly, even with the application of emergency brakes," he said.

The incident caused minor damage to Aurizon infrastructure.

Photographer captures miracle

GLADSTONE photographer Astrid Allison was taking some midnight photos of lightning strikes at Round Hill on Wednesday morning.

When she headed home and came across the emergency service's flashing lights, she thought the worst.

"When I turned the corner I couldn't believe my eyes," she said.

"It was a rainy night, the roads were wet, and I think those kids have angels watching them."

Ms Allison said she hoped the occupants learnt their lesson.

"I also hope they don't use this as a 'haha look at what we did, we walked away'. Use this as a warning.

"Next time you probably won't get out that lucky."

Topics:  accident, drink driver, gladstone



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