RACQ Care Flight crews and emergency service workers at the scene of the truck crash near Murgon in 2014.
RACQ Care Flight crews and emergency service workers at the scene of the truck crash near Murgon in 2014. Contributed

Truck driver killed when 'faulty' vehicle smashed into tree

A FAULTY truck is likely to be behind the cause of a crash that killed Proston truck driver Stephen Ross Brown near Cloyna, west of Gympie, in 2014, a coroner has heard.

Mr Brown, 54, died at Nambour General Hospital on August 27, 2014 after receiving extensive injuries when his truck crashed into a tree.

An inquest is expected to be held in February in Toowoomba to investigate whether his employer, Goldmix Stock Foods, took reasonable steps to ensure the vehicle was safe to drive.

At a pre-inquest conference in Brisbane on Wednesday, counsel assisting the Coroner Megan Jarvis said Mr Brown was driving the truck on Murgon Gayndah Rd when it crashed into a tree and stopped in a paddock.

Mr Brown received horrific injuries; his leg was almost fully amputated and his other leg was fractured. He was airlifted to Nambour hospital.

Ms Jarvis said experts had examined the stock feed truck and it was revealed that two suspension leaf springs had "long-standing fatigue fractures" and that it was likely that spring failure caused Mr Brown to lose control of the truck.

Ms Jarvis said a witness who had spoken to Mr Brown shortly after the crash said Mr Brown had told him "he heard a bang and it (the truck) went to the right".

She also said Mr Brown's wife Leah Haigh had raised concerns about how her husband had complained about the condition, state of repair, roadworthiness, safety and maintenance of Goldmix's various vehicles, including the one he was driving on the day of the crash.

"Leah believes that several Goldmix employees were reluctant to and avoided driving the truck involved in the crash due to its condition, state of repair and roadworthiness..." Ms Jarvis said.

Police investigations did not find any significant gaps in the company's maintenance and servicing records.

Ms Jarvis said an expert had noted that the fatigue fractures could have gone unnoticed during servicing because of grease.

A forensic pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Mr Brown found he had blood clots in both lungs and that these may have formed elsewhere and travelled through his heart into his lungs, causing obstruction.

The inquest will investigate the circumstances leading up to the crash, whether Goldmix took reasonable steps to ensure Mr Brown's safety when driving the truck, particularly with maintenance and repairs, and whether recommendations need to be made.

- ARM NEWSDESK



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