Victim wasn't wearing seatbelt - coroner

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 14:00 10/02/2014

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A man who was thrown from a rolling fertiliser spreading truck and died when it stopped on top of him, was not wearing a seatbelt, the coroner says.

Darren Hockly, 40, was spreading fertiliser on a Bay of Plenty property in March last year, when he misjudged a dip in the land and his truck began to roll.

In his findings released today, Coroner Gordon Matenga said Hockly was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the cab of the truck through his open window, while the truck was still rolling.

The truck came to rest on top of him, pinning him to the ground.

Hockly died of traumatic crash asphyxia, the coroner ruled.

Hockly had cannabis and the anti-depressant Paroxetine in his system at the time of his death, but neither was at a high enough level to have impaired his ability to operate a motor vehicle, Matenga said.

The coroner stopped short of making any recommendations into the mandatory wearing of seatbelts by truck drivers during fertiliser spreading operations, because he said it would create problems for drivers, restricting their movement and potentially causing shoulder injuries.

Matenga said publishing his decision would be enough so that other drivers were made aware of the risks and make an informed safety decision.

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