A Taree driver accused of causing a fatal crash when he allegedly pulled his vehicle in front of a Mack truck on the M1 Motorway at West Wollongong told police he believed there was enough room between him and the truck to merge.
Graham Squires is on trial in Wollongong District Court this week after pleading not guilty to two charges of dangerous driving occasioning death stemming from the June 28, 2019 incident.
Jurors were told Squires was driving his silver Ford Territory in the left-hand lane of the motorway when he merged into the middle lane near the Mt Keira Road underpass.
A Mack truck and trailer travelling in the middle lane clipped the back of Squires' car, pushing it into a concrete barrier as the truck ground to a halt.
Meanwhile, a Mitsubishi Pajero travelling behind the truck crashed into the trailer, while a second truck, an Isuzu, slammed into the Pajero, causing both the Pajero and the Isuzu to catch alight.
The driver of the Pajero, John Cerezo, and his partner Catherine Camilleri, perished in the blaze.
Squires was taken to Wollongong Police Station and interviewed just hours after the crash, telling police he'd been left "devastated" from the day's events.
"I'm devastated by what's happened and seeing that car on fire," he told police at the time.
"I went weak at the knees and [thought] what the f--k is going on?"
When asked what he thought had caused the collision, Squires replied "honestly, I don't know".
However, police went on to suggest to Squires he had merged into a spot when there wasn't one.
"When you put the blinker on there was never a space for you to merge into - what do you have to say to that?" they asked him.
"I thought there was," he replied.
Meanwhile, the driver of the Mack truck, Jade Sinclair, said he did not see Squires' car before the initial collision and denied suggestions from defence barrister Luke Brasch that he'd deliberately closed the gap between the vehicles as Squires went to change lanes.
"Did you deliberately squeeze the Ford Territory out so he couldn't enter you lane?" Mr Brasch asked Mr Sinclair.
"No.....I'm a pretty courteous driver," Mr Sinclair replied.
The driver of the Isuzu truck ,Gerado Masi, told the court the crash involving his truck and the Pajero happened very quickly.
"There was flames in my passenger side....flames [coming from the] car in front of me," he said.
"I jumped out of the truck, I went to the right of the [Pajero] to see what assistance I could give [but the fire] was too fierce."
The trial continues.