A Fairy Meadow mechanic has told how the driver of a runaway truck screamed for people to get out of the way moments before his vehicle careered across a major intersection and ploughed through a McDonald's car park, injuring three people, this week.
George Georghallis was first alerted to Monday morning’s unfolding chaos by the sound of screams – both from the driver and one of his staff.
“I’ve looked up and saw this truck flying down the road and basically he [the driver] was telling everyone to get out of the way,” Mr Georghallis said.
“He’s gone through [the roundabout] and straight into ... the Maccas car park.”
Mr Georghallis didn’t wait for the moment of impact; he called triple-0 as soon as he saw the out-of-control truck.
“It’s scary because when you see that kind of thing you think the worst, you know, you don’t know what’s gonna happen. It was very lucky that nobody died,” he said.
The mechanic can see a lot from the reception desk of his business, George’s Auto Prestige, on the corner of Mount Ousley Road and the Princes Highway.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer an uninterrupted view of the busy intersection; and Monday’s accident wasn’t the first Mr Georghallis has seen unfold.
In 2014, a truck overturned on the ring road between McDonald’s and the BP service station after its driver lost control and hit the roundabout at the same intersection.
On Friday, the smell of overheated brakes was evident when the Mercury visited the area; an odour Mr Georghallis smells “on many occasions” as trucks drive past.
“The brakes are getting really hot on trucks that are coming down Mount Ousley,” he said. “They’re using the brakes a lot, that’s what concerns me.”
Mr Georghallis has called for drivers, truckies in particular, to be better educated about how to navigate Mount Ousley’s steep descent.
He also believed the emergency arrester bed – a large sand pit that halts runaway trucks – at its base needed to be more visible.
“It’s a unique road, especially in a truck, so you’ve got to abide by the rules, do the speed limit and use the right gears,” he said.
“I think driver education for truck drivers, that’s important, but also to fix the emergency ramp exit so if they lose their brakes, they know where it is, it’s visible. Then if something happens, they can use that and they don’t have to come down here [Mount Ousley Road].
“He [the driver] had no reason to come down here, he could have continued to go down to Figtree … and let his brakes cool down.”
Mr Georghallis believed the exit onto Mount Ousley Road from the M1 Princes Motorway was confusing for some drivers.
“They think maybe there’s an emergency ramp down here but obviously there isn’t,” he said.
A NSW Roads video, published last year, shows the trip down Mount Ousley from a truck driver’s perspective.
It outlines the requirement for heavy vehicles and buses to use the left lane and low gear.
A police investigation into Monday’s crash is ongoing.