Truck driver killed in crash near Victoria-SA border checkpoint
A driver has died in a crash involving three trucks near the Victoria-South Australian border, where COVID-19 travel restrictions were reimposed overnight. Victoria Police investigators have been told a truck crashed into the rear of another stationary truck at 2.20am on Thursday morning, two hours after South Australian authorities slammed the state’s border with Victoria shut in response to a growing COVID outbreak in Melbourne.
A witness photo of the fiery crash that killed a truck driver at the Victoria-South Australia border overnight.Credit:3AW
The accident occurred during a traffic jam at the border. After the initial collision, the stationary truck was propelled into another truck in front of it and all three trucks caught fire.
South Australia Police confirmed officers were manning the checkpoint on the Western Highway at Serviceton, just a few kilometres from the border when the collision occurred.
The driver of the first truck died at the scene and has yet to be formally identified. Emergency crews and investigators were at the scene on Thursday morning, with the Western Highway expected to stay closed in both directions until at least Thursday evening. South Australia-bound vehicles are being directed to take a 150 kilometres detour via the Wimmera Highway at Horsham.
Paul Freestone, managing director of Freestone’s Transport, said he understood from drivers at the scene that there were only three police officers on duty at the checkpoint. “There were 150 cars and it [the line] was all the way back to Kaniva,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. [A truck driver] came along and he didn’t realise they were all stopped and he was also carting chemicals. “There’s absolutely no reason for these trucks to be stopped,” he said, crying.
“We went through this with the NSW border, we fought tooth and nail to get a corridor for the trucks to go through.” On the South Australian side of the border, the Dukes Highway will also be closed for several hours due to the crash. The South Australian Police Commissioner is expected to speak alongside Premier Steven Marshall on Thursday afternoon.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has dashcam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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Rachael Dexter is a breaking news reporter at The Age.