Investigation after Summerland truck crashes

A Summerland Express Freight truck carrying dangerous goods ran off State Highway 8, the Lindis Pass, early yesterday morning causing ''moderate'' injuries to the 43-year-old driver.

Recovery crews spent much of the day removing items from the B train truck, left lying in a deep ditch.

Summerland general manager Grant Lowe declined to say what the dangerous goods consisted of or discuss the circumstances of the crash.

Workers prepare to recover a Summerlands freight truck carrying dangerous goods that crashed in the Lindis Pass yesterday. Photo: Mark Price
Workers prepare to recover a Summerlands freight truck carrying dangerous goods that crashed in the Lindis Pass yesterday. Photo: Mark Price
''We're still in investigation mode right now, so we are just working through all that.

'' I'm not in a position to communicate anything that's going on until we've finished all of the investigations.''

Early last year, the Otago Daily Times reported on a spate of crashes involving Summerland vehicles on southern roads.

Police found two were caused by impaired or careless drivers rather than mechanical issues.

Mr Lowe at that time rejected claims his employees were pushed to the limit, and said there was nothing wrong with drivers working up to 70 hours per week.

One of the crashes, on December 22, 2017, involved a Summerland truck-and-trailer unit being out of control in Pine Hill Rd as it travelled downhill, before rolling on to its side and coming to a stop near the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

An investigation by the police commercial vehicle safety team found the accident was caused by the brakes on the trailer not working correctly because of a mechanical fault.

Following the crashes, Mr Lowe told the ODT the company had made changes to both its driver recruitment policy and its brake testing.

Yesterday's crash happened just before 5am, about 2km north of the Timburn Rd turnoff.

The truck was heading south, and ran off the road on the approach to a sweeping right hand bend.

A police spokeswoman said the police commercial vehicle safety team would investigate.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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