THE opening day of an inquest into an horrific petrol tanker crash that left four people dead has heard allegations the truck driver was driving dangerously.
The accident on the Princes Highway at East Lynne almost two years ago killed 36-year-old Narellan Vale truck driver, David Carolan, and two young Ulladulla girls, Jordon Bridge, 13, and her 11-year-old sister Makeely. The girls’ 47-year-old father, David Bridge, died in hospital a week after their family car was engulfed in flames. Their mother, Debbie, 42, suffered burns to 80 per cent of her body but miraculously survived.
She and her husband were pulled from the inferno by other motorists on December 28, 2009.
The accident happened when the south-bound petrol tanker crossed onto the wrong side of the road, hit two cars travelling north, and then slammed into a third – carrying the Bridge family – which burst into flames.
Relatives of the Bridge family were travelling in the car behind them and pulled Mr and Mrs Bridge from the burning car.
In his opening statement, Sergeant Stephen Kelly told Batemans Bay Coroner’s Court the most likely cause of the collision was “excessive speed for this specific section of road”.
However he also said police had received reports Mr Carolan swerved to avoid another car that had veered onto his side of the road, but this information was unconfirmed.
“The investigative officer has not found any evidence to support this,” Sgt Kelly said.
One witness, who was a passenger in a car travelling behind the petrol tanker before the crash, gave evidence that he thought the driver was an “idiot”.
Colin Campbell was in the car with his partner Carol Willard when he noticed the tanker tailing a black van.
“I said (to Carol), ‘look at this idiot’,” he said. “He was obviously in a rush, trying to push this car in front.”
Mr Campbell said this was about 10km from the crash site.
Mr Campbell told Ms Willard to pull over when he saw the truck’s back wheels lift and the tanker start to roll.
“When I saw the tyres left the road, I knew straight away there was no going back from there. I told Carol to pull over then I heard bangs…
“I saw a little green four-wheel drive flying backward through the air and hit a tree.”
He said the tanker’s brakelights did not appear.
The inquiry continues today.
For more on this story, pick up a copy of today’s Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.