Australasian Transport News (ATN)

NEWS

POLICE KILLED IN TRUCK CRASH

The truck-car crash in Melbourne that claimed the lives of four officers has been reported as the deadliest single incident involving Victoria Police in the state’s history

The collision occurred inbound on the Eastern Freeway near Chandler Highway just after 5.30pm on April 22.

The exact circumstances surrounding the collision are still being probed by detectives from the Major Collision Investigation Unit.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton explains that two officers intercepted a speeding Porsche and upon a positive drug test were going to impound the vehicle, requesting two more officers for assistance.

A refrigerated truck for a Melbourne commercial poultry company drove into the stopped vehicles, killing the four officers.

The truck driver, believed to be uninjured but suffering a ‘medical episode’ involving ‘blacking out’, was taken to hospital under police guard awaiting blood tests.

Ashon notes he "doesn’t have an extensive criminal history" and was not pulled over earlier in the day, as per some reports.

"The driver of the truck has for medical reasons been taken to hospital for medical tests," Ashton says.

Ashton noted it was the biggest loss of life involving the state’s police force in a single incident.

Federal transport minister Michael McCormack and assistant freight and road safety minister Scott Buchholz both issued short statements on social media after the incident.

"Heartfelt condolences to the families and colleagues of the four Victoria Police officers killed on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne tonight," McCormack says.

"This is a tragedy that will be felt across the nation.

Buchholz adds: "This is awful. No words to describe the loss.

"My thoughts go to the loved ones and colleagues of those officers we lost today, as they served to protect the community."

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson says the association was "distraught" to learn of the loss.

"The loss of any life on our roads is tragic, but to lose four Victoria Police officers serving their community in a single accident is devastating," he says.

"On behalf of the industry we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the officers and the entire Victoria Police force at this difficult time, and offer any assistance and support we can provide."

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch extended his condolences on behalf of the Australian trucking industry.

"Our roads and highways are a police officer’s workplace," Crouch says.

"Every day they go to work to do an essential job, and they deserve to do it safely, and return home to their loved ones at the end of the day.

"Yesterday’s incident was a tragedy and one that is simply heartbreaking. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and loss the officers’ families and loved ones, the Victorian police force, and community are experiencing following this significant loss.

"Our sincere thoughts go out to all who have been affected by this heartbreaking crash."

Driver charges laid as probe turns to company

The Cranbourne-based truck driver allegedly responsible for the fatal collision, 47-year-old Mohinder Singh Bajwa, is charged with four counts of culpable driving.

Richard Pusey, the 41-year-old driver of the Porsche that was intercepted by police before the incident, is charged with driving speed dangerous, reckless conduct endangering life, failure to remain after a drug test, failure to render assistance, failure to exchange details, possessing drug of dependence, destruction of evidence and three counts of committing an indictable offence

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