Driver stood down after fiery, fatal crash

Last updated 12:00 14/01/2014

Dramatic footage showing the height of the flames and an explosion from the Sanson crash wreckage.

Crash SH1
MORNING SCENE: Photos from the crash, taken at 8.30am on Wednesday morning.

Fatal truck smash a 'wall of flame'

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The driver of a Freight Lines-contracted truck involved in the fatal crash on State Highway 1 south of Sanson has been stood down while the cause of the crash is investigated.

The truck, carrying a load of produce, was involved in a fiery three-vehicle smash on January 8 that killed Levin mother and son Margaret Jane Turnbull, 51, and Trent Cole Whitburn, 20, shortly after midnight.

Ms Turnbull and Mr Whitburn were travelling in a Nissan car behind a Big Chill truck heading south when the crash happened.

The two vehicles were going slowly behind a 110-tonne catamaran, being transported in two parts from Palmerston North to Foxton.

Police have already ruled out both the Big Chill truck and the Nissan as contributors to the crash.

Central House Movers, transporting the boat, was not involved in the crash and was found to be making the trip with the right permits and in a professional and legal manner.

Freight Lines chief executive Barry Raymond said the driver of the truck carrying produce was a fulltime staff member for an Auckland-based owner/operator trucking business contracted to Freight Lines.

A Waikato man, he had been associated with the company for seven years and was an experienced driver, he said.

He had been stood down while investigations into the cause of the crash were undertaken, and had been offered counselling by his employer.

While some trucks had cameras on board, in this instance, the truck did not, he said.

Freight Lines was helping authorities to get to the bottom of the cause of the crash, but it was an in-depth process and he expected it to take some time.

It is not yet known if the driver of the truck will face charges.

Manawatu CIB Acting Detective Sergeant Shelley Ross said there was still a lot of information to be sourced and reviewed before considering criminal charges.

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- Manawatu Standard

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