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Drinking, truck theft led to chase

A witness told investigators that Patrick Anthony Faiers had drunk a fifth of peppermint schnapps before stealing a pickup from a nearby construction business and leading police on a high-speed chase late Monday.
The chase ended with the 49-year-old in…

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‘Folklore’ to jump before crash may have led to Canterbury truck driver Chris Corlett’s death

JULIAN LEE

Last updated 14:03, July 25 2017

A photo of Chris and Jenny Corlett.

REBEKAH PARSONS-KING/STUFF

A photo of Chris and Jenny Corlett.

A coroner investigating the death of a truck driver found there is a “folklore” among ground-spreaders in New Zealand – if there is trouble with the truck “don’t go down with the ship”.

That is, if you lose control of the truck, get out before it crashes.

It may have been this belief that led to the death of Chris Corlett, 34, when he left the cab of his truck while it careened out of control on a slope on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula.

Jenny Corlett, pictured in December 2015 holding 6-week-old baby Jane. Jenny found out she was pregnant two weeks after ...

REBEKAH PARSONS-KING/STUFF

Jenny Corlett, pictured in December 2015 holding 6-week-old baby Jane. Jenny found out she was pregnant two weeks after her husband’s death.

He left behind two young daughters and wife Jenny Corlett, who found out she was pregnant with a third child two weeks after her husband died. She and their children have since resettled in Tauranga.

READ MORE:
Two weeks after her husband died, Jenny Corlett found out she was pregnant
Truck crashes off Port Levy Rd, Banks Peninsula
Five men die during ‘shocking’ year for workplace deaths[1][2][3]

Ground-spreading fertiliser on New Zealand farms kills, on average, one New Zealander a year.

Jenny Corlett in late 2015 with daughters Lorna and Hazel, then aged 2 and 4 respectively.

REBEKAH PARSONS-KING/STUFF

Jenny Corlett in late 2015 with daughters Lorna and Hazel, then aged 2 and 4 respectively.

Corlett was using a 2004 Mercedes Benz 1835 AK Actros to spread fertiliser on a farm near Purau in March 2015 when his truck hurtled backwards down a slope on the edge of a paddock.

Farm owner Brian Keenan, who was on top of a nearby hill at the time, said he saw the truck heading backwards down the hill, “bouncing heavily”, then saw the cab door open while the truck was airborne.

Keenan rushed to the scene on his quad bike and found the truck still upright at the bottom of the gully with Corlett lying 20 to 30 metres away, unresponsive and without a pulse. Keenan called 111.

The truck did not roll.

Serious crash analyst Sergeant Nigel Price said he thought Corlett jumped from the truck while it careened downhill. 

He thought Chris Corlett would have almost certainly survived the crash if he stayed in the cab with a seatbelt on. Without a seatbelt, Price believed, Corlett would still have been more likely to survive. 

“If they jump from a vehicle that’s moving straight, the ground is normally a far worse enemy than the impact,” Price said.

“[Corlett’s] decision to alight from the vehicle was pretty much the wrong one.

“There is a common and highly incorrect and false belief that people can jump from a vehicle as it rolls . . . the reality is when people jump from a rolling vehicle they get thrown in front.”

Corlett once told a co-worker he would “not go down with the ship”.

The area Corlett was working in had been ground-spread before. The 17 degree slope the truck crashed down was not the steepest slope on the Fernglen property.

Co-workers said Corlett had worked on slopes of up to 40 degrees before.

Coroner Brigitte Windley found it was likely Corlett hit a rock, was in too high a gear at the time and unable to stop the truck from stalling. He then lost control of the truck.

“The balance of evidence … suggests [Corlett] was not wearing his seatbelt during the crash sequence and made a conscious decision to alight.”

“The expert evidence is that his survival prospects would have been significantly improved had he remained in the cab, and almost certain had he remained with his seatbelt on.”

She found there was evidence “not going down with the ship” was an old belief in the ground-spreading industry.

Company owner Murray Righton said truck cabs used to be much weaker, hence the belief that getting out of the cab would increase the chance of survival.

Experienced co-worker Grant Wood described Corlett as having “a natural aptitude for driving” and said he was a “confident and competent driver”.

The Coroner asked the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association to work with WorkSafe to make sure ground-spreaders wore seatbelts and tried to eradicate the belief that, in a crash situation, it was safer to jump out than to stay in the truck.

“Given the suggested correlation between this folklore and decreased survival prospects, properly informed driver education is a must.” 

The Coroner ruled Corlett died from torso crush injuries from alighting from the truck cab during its uncontrolled downhill descent following loss of power and traction. 

 – Stuff

Ambulance is left wedged against a HGV for THIRTY MINUTES after a controversial traffic experiment to divert big lorries through a quiet village led to it getting stuck

  • The controversial experiment diverts HGVs along a narrow country lane
  • Residents of Melbury Abbas, Dorset said it ‘could cost someone’s life’
  • Paramedics were on a blue-light call to a category two emergency incident

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An ambulance on a blue-light call to a serious emergency got stuck for half an hour because of a controversial traffic experiment to divert lorries through a small village.

Paramedics were on their way to the category two incident when they got jammed against an oncoming HGV on the narrow road in Melbury Abbas, Dorset.

Villagers said they feared the hold-ups could ‘cost someone’s life someday’ and that the country lane gets jammed up to 20 times a week.

The two vehicles attempted to pass each other but ended up getting wedged in the tight space on Monday afternoon. 

After a few minutes it became clear the ambulance was unable to pull clear and the crew radioed for another one to be sent to the casualty.

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The ambulance was on a blue-light call to a serious emergency when it got stuck next to a HGV. Residents are concerned that the jams could 'cost someone their life'

The ambulance was on a blue-light call to a serious emergency when it got stuck next to a HGV. Residents are concerned that the jams could 'cost someone their life'

The ambulance was on a blue-light call to a serious emergency when it got stuck next to a HGV. Residents are concerned that the jams could ‘cost someone their life’

It arrived about an hour after the initial 999 call which was a delay of about 30 minutes.

Melbury Abbas resident Roy Faulkner, 57, said: ‘I heard the sirens going right outside my house so looked out and saw a big lorry squeezing past the ambulance.

‘But right behind it was an even bigger one and the ambulance had to stop completely, the two vehicles were just wedged together as neither could get past.

‘After sitting there for a while the paramedics called in to say that they’d been in an accident and they wouldn’t be able to get where they were going.

‘It’s really worrying because these emergency vehicles obviously need to be wherever they’re going in the quickest possible time.

‘This has all come about because of the signs directing lorries this way, it’s ridiculous.

‘We get fire engines coming through here sometimes too so there’s a danger that one of them will get itself into a position like this.

‘Jams like this could actually cost someone’s life one day.’

It is the latest jam to blight the village which is getting blocked up to 20 times a week with lorries following the ‘ridiculous’ decision to re-route them.

Villagers in Melbury Abbas have become frustrated with lorries being diverted along the narrow road C13 road instead of the main A350.

Villagers in Melbury Abbas have become frustrated with lorries being diverted along the narrow road C13 road instead of the main A350.

Villagers in Melbury Abbas have started recording the number of jams caused by lorries and photographing the incidents.

Villagers in Melbury Abbas have started recording the number of jams caused by lorries and photographing the incidents.

Villagers have started recording the number of jams caused by lorries and photographing the incidents

Highways chiefs at Dorset County Council put up signs directing southbound HGVs to use the C13 road instead of the main A350 which runs parallel to it.

The idea is to create an unofficial one-way system for lorries as part of a £2.5m strategy to improve the A350. 

The ambulance became stuck at around 12.20pm on Monday while on its way to the patient at an address eight miles north in Gillingham.   

After the paramedics told call handlers about the accident they were called off and a rapid response vehicle followed by a second ambulance were sent instead.

The ambulance didn’t arrive at the address until 12.43pm, almost an hour after the initial call. 

Residents are calling for the one way system to be scrapped and say the road is physically too small for lorries to pass through

Residents are calling for the one way system to be scrapped and say the road is physically too small for lorries to pass through

Residents are calling for the one way system to be scrapped and say the road is physically too small for lorries to pass through

South Western Ambulance Service classed the call as a category two, for serious but not life threatening conditions. 

William Kenealy, chairman of Melbury Abbas and Cann Parish Council, said: ‘The road is physically too small for so many vehicles of such great size to pass through.

‘The structure of the road and the nature of traffic passing through it at the moment means jams are continually occurring.

The road gets jammed 'up to 20 times a week' with lorries following the diversion signs

The road gets jammed 'up to 20 times a week' with lorries following the diversion signs

The road gets jammed ‘up to 20 times a week’ with lorries following the diversion signs

‘The issue is even more concerning when you see pictures like this, which show an emergency vehicle getting stuck.

‘The one way system put in place by the council needs to be looked at again, it’s obviously not working.’

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said: ‘A call was received from the NHS 111 service relating to a patient at an address in Gillingham.

The idea is to create an unofficial one-way system for lorries as part of a £2.5m strategy to improve the A350, which runs parallel to the narrow lane

The idea is to create an unofficial one-way system for lorries as part of a £2.5m strategy to improve the A350, which runs parallel to the narrow lane

The idea is to create an unofficial one-way system for lorries as part of a £2.5m strategy to improve the A350, which runs parallel to the narrow lane

‘An ambulance was on its way to the scene within a few minutes but was involved in an incident at Melbury Abbas.

‘A paramedic in a rapid response vehicle was then dispatched and attended the patient’s address.

‘The patient was treated at the scene and a second ambulance took the patient to Salisbury District Hospital for further treatment.’

 A spokesman for Dorset County Council said they are looking into Monday’s incident.

Andrew Martin, service director for highways and emergency planning at the council, said: ‘In 2016 we implemented an advisory one-way system for HGVs to reduce the chances of two HGVs passing on the narrow parts of both the C13 and A350 roads between Shaftesbury and Blandford.

‘We were recently awarded £2.5million of government funding for a range of improvements on these two roads.

‘We are currently consulting with local communities on a range of options and are listening to their feedback.

‘This incident and others will be investigated to help us find the best solutions to keep traffic and freight moving safely and freely.’

References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)