Police inspect a fatal crash near Hatton Vale on the Warrego Hwy.
Police inspect a fatal crash near Hatton Vale on the Warrego Hwy. David Nielsen

Fatal highway crash claims driver

AN ELDERLY man was killed in a horrific collision with a semi-trailer on the Warrego Hwy, west of Ipswich, yesterday.

The man, thought to have been aged in his 70s, was driving an early model, grey Ford Laser along Niemeyer Rd, Hatton Vale, when he attempted to merge onto the eastbound lanes of the Warrego Hwy.

Witnesses said the small hatchback drove directly into the path of the truck, which had just left Gehrke Grains and Transport not more than a kilometre up the road.

The car was wedged under the front passenger side of the truck, which was towing a shipping container full of wheat to Hemmant, near the Port of Brisbane.

Truck driver Ron Holmes, 63, said he tried to swerve but had no time to react.

The little car was dragged about 70m along the median strip and then in and out of a deep culvert, somehow remaining wedged against the truck.

"I swerved onto the median strip but then had to pull it back because I was worried about hitting oncoming traffic," Mr Holmes said.

Despite the fact his trailer had broken off and a massive hole had been ripped in his fuel tank, causing diesel to spill profusely, Mr Holmes' cabin remained upright and he sustained only a small bump to the head.

Still in shock after the accident, he said he got out of his cabin after coming to a stop and ran back to the place of the initial impact to look for the car - not realising it was under the front of his truck.

"It's the first accident I've had in 47 years of driving trucks. I think the full extent of it will hit home later on," he said.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but nothing could be done to save the man in the car.

The smash resulted in the complete closure of the east-bound lanes of the Warrego Highway for several hours.

Forensic crash unit officers were investigating.



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