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Runaway Truck Causes Havoc

Police commend action of drivers dealing with runaway truck on busy highway

Police are heralding the actions of members of the public whose actions they say prevented a potential tragedy on a busy expressway on Wednesday.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said a 111 call was received about 7am about a driver of a truck carrying a digger being asleep behind the wheel.

"The truck was heading south towards Rangiriri on the Waikato Expressway section of SH1 and as the motorist spoke to the emergency call taker they described the truck travelling at low speed but causing massive damage to the barriers separating north and southbound traffic.

"The motorist had tried to wake the driver by tooting but got no response. With its speed at 20km/h the motorist got in behind the rear of the larger vehicle and activated their own hazard lights to act as a warning to following drivers."

As the lanes merged into one the truck was described as crashing into a concrete barrier and entering into a large area of road works.

"The vehicle has veered off to the left and slowed right down, at this point two motorist stopped to render assistance and one managed to gain entry into the cab of the truck and apply the handbrake as Police officers arrived.

"It is quickly established the truck driver wasn't asleep but was actually experiencing medical issues and an ambulance was called to the scene."

Mrs Grace said Police would now look into the circumstances of what happened and the appropriate way of recognising the actions of those members of the public who intervened.

"We have reports of the 29 ton Mitsubishi Shogun truck being involved in a collision near Hampton Downs and other motorists seeing it weaving across the road and damaging wire rope barriers.

"When you consider the risks posed to other motorists, let alone to the roading contractors working on the road works at Rangiriri, we could very easily have been dealing with a tragedy."

Mrs Grace said the driver of the truck was attended by paramedics at the scene and is recovering.

"In line with this Police urge all road users who have known medical conditions to ensure they familiarise themselves with the symptoms and management practices to keep themselves and others safe on our roads."


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