In 1996, Mercury journalist GREG ELLIS found the truck driver involved in a fatal crash at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Mt Ousley Road – the driver had been missing for three days.
At 1am on Tuesday August 27, 1996 my household was woken by a “loud thud”.
Feeling something bad had happened I got dressed and searched the area near my Woodhill Street unit.
Thinking the sickening sound must have been an accident I looked around the Mt Ousley Rd and Princes Hwy intersection at Fairy Meadow. It was eerily quiet with no traffic or signs anything had occurred.
Over the next few days reports of a search for a missing truck driver prompted me to extend my search throughout the large parcel of land that later became the Northgate development.
On the Friday morning, I returned to the site where McDonald’s is now located, pushed through the long grass and made the grisly discovery of a deceased driver in the mangled remains of a truck.
The cabin had taken the shape of a concertina after slamming into an embankment by the creek, and it was covered by freight.
A decade later when another truck accident occurred in the same location, I wrote about how the original incident had made me uncomfortable as a parent. And my reluctance to take my children to that McDonald’s.
Even back in 1996 the site was already known to have been the scene of several truck accidents.
So when I reported my discovery to police I stood waiting next to the tragic scene for two hours because they didn't believe it was a new accident.
They thought it would be the wreckage of another truck that shot through the intersection a few years earlier. Even when officers arrived they thought it was that same vehicle.
After the 2006 accident, when 15 people including children were injured, I added my voice to calls for a safety barrier. Call it paranoia, but to this day I still feel uncomfortable looking at the intersection and thinking about what might occur when another truck loses control. Monday’s accident reinforced those fears.
With four truck accidents involving death or injury in 22 years, it is time to ensure this does not keep happening.