Driver seemed oblivious to lifted tray

CHRIS HYDE AND KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 22/01/2014

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A Palmerston North City Council dump truck driver caught on camera smashing a traffic light while driving with a tray up will be issued with an infringement notice by police.

The council is also conducting an internal investigation into the "operator error".

Turangi's Craig Milverton was in Palmerston North visiting family when he got a front-seat view of the collision which was captured on his vehicle's dash-cam.

Mr Milverton said he installed the camera in his vehicle because he drove a lot for his job and had had a few close calls in the past.

In the video, the truck driver in front of him approaches the intersection of Railway Rd and Tremaine Ave from the north, seemingly unaware of the lifted hoist on the truck.

"I was mystified why he had his trailer up. I pulled out and started flashing my lights. There was no point honking my horn, he was a good 100 metres in front of me. I was flashing my lights all the way."

His camera continued recording as the truck collided with an overhanging traffic light, smashing it to pieces and leaving debris strewn across the intersection.

"I just stopped in awe. There was junk all over the road.

"About 30 seconds afterward all these people appeared from nowhere. Two or three people popped out with high-vis vests on and started cleaning up, so I just carried on my way."

The dash-cam placed the time of the collision at 3.23pm, and the council confirmed yesterday it took place on January 15 between 3pm and 4pm.

Mr Milverton said he did not give the footage to police because the date stamp was wrong, and he didn't think it could be used as evidence.

Had the driver looked in his mirrors and noticed his flashing lights, he would probably also have noticed his trailer was up, he said.

Council human resources manager Wayne Wilson said the hoist was still fully extended because of "operator error".

The truck had dumped a load just before the incident took place, Mr Wilson said.

The footage has proved popular on social media, with the video shared more than 1000 times on Facebook by yesterday morning.

Palmerston North Senior Constable Grant Taylor of the commercial investigation unit said police were notified of the incident by a member of the public and responded shortly after it happened.

"The police commercial investigation unit inspected the truck and found that it was breaching road rules by driving with its tray up," Mr Taylor said.

"Police are in the process of issuing the driver with an infringement for operating an over-height vehicle causing damage."

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- Manawatu Standard

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