Wednesday, March 3, 2010
More logging truck crashes
As we have commented before, logging trucks are the most dangerous vehicles on the road, as well as the most damaging to the road surface. Last week a logging truck made the national news when it crashed and jackknified on a bridge south of Foxton. Luckily no-one was hurt on that occasion (except maybe the truck driver). Not so fortunate, however, was the victim of another incident, the full story of which is reproduced below from stuff.co.nz
Why do these trucks need to travel parallel to the North Island Main Trunk railway all the way from the Manawatu to Wellington wharf - why can't the copious quantity of logs travel on the railway? Any answers anyone?
Covered in broken glass and with her "best mate" slumped unconscious beside her, Amiria Maihi had just two seconds to pull her dying uncle's truck to the roadside.
"People tell me it was brave, but it did not save him," the 18-year-old said yesterday, after farewelling Taylor Schouwenaars at his tangi at Waikanae's Whakarongotai Marae.
Mr Schouwenaars, 36, was killed when a three-metre log came loose from a passing vehicle and hit his truck's wing mirror, smashing it into the cab and hitting him in the head.
Miss Maihi was sitting in the passenger seat when the accident happened on State Highway 1 near Porirua about 6.50am on Friday.
She had never driven a truck before, but knew instinctively that she had to act immediately. "I had about two seconds. The glass hit me so I jumped over, got the truck to the side of the road and pulled it up."
She rang emergency services as soon as she stopped the eight-wheeler Big Chill Distribution truck. She could not get any reaction from her uncle.
"Once he was hit, he was pretty well unconscious straight away. He couldn't say nothing, he just bled. I was talking to him but he was not responding. It felt like forever for emergency services to arrive."
As she sat waiting for about 10 minutes for the emergency services, other trucks and cars drove past.
"No-one stopped. I was just doing it all myself with the lady on the phone. Truck drivers just drove past – I was pretty pissed off."
Police say her quick actions prevented further "carnage" on the road.
Mr Schouwenaars was flown to Wellington Hospital in a critical condition and died shortly before midday.
Ms Maihi had been her uncle's cab buddy for about a year. "He was like my best mate. I was able to open up to him. He did not judge me, made sure I was all right, happy – what a normal friend would do."
She would miss him and "love him for always".
Mr Schouwenaars' partner, who gave her name only as Kiri, described him as a marvellous man whose toothless grin lit up other people's lives.
"His face just gleamed `welcome'. He was a man of many people, much loved, a huge attraction to others – the young, teenagers, middle-aged and elderly – he touched everybody.
"He had this charisma about him, that smile and laugh, that made people crack up with him."
The couple had two children – Kararaina, 3 months, and Hinemoa, 2 – and Mr Schouwenaars had two older children aged 9 and 11.
The 20-year-old driver of the truck that lost its log has been interviewed by police, who said he carried on around a corner before pulling over to check his truck.
He noticed the log was missing but did not return to check for any damage or injuries. Police were waiting for results of vehicle and forensic tests before deciding on possible charges.