Truck's 22 second window to avoid train

20:14, Aug 28 2014
Cory James Clements
TRUCK DRIVER: Cory James Clements

Truck driver, father and husband Cory James Clements had a 22-second window between seeing the train that would kill him and getting out of its way.

Coroner Gordon Matenga is holding an inquest in the Hamilton District Court today into Clements' death.

Police crash analyst Senior Constable Graham Fitzpatrick told the court that a gouge mark showed Clements' trailer had grounded before impact.

Fitzpatrick said Clements had tried to get out of the cab but after the train struck the truck, the cab rotated and struck him.

Fitzpatrick said the roading and railway environment and Clements' actions contributed to his death.

Clements had been crossing the two-way tracks to turn around, the court heard.

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A witness described hearing frantic tooting before watching a passenger train plough into a truck near Rangiriri on February 27 this year. The collision killed the truck's driver and ripped the truck's engine out.

Fitzpatrick confirmed that the driver had sounded the horn then applied the emergency brake, yet neither prevented the impact.

Clements died at the crash site on unsealed Te Onetea Rd.

Clements' workmates at Porter Group later remembered him as a trusted employee, a passionate truckie and a "bloody good bloke".

A woman at a property near the scene said at the time that her son, who witnessed the smash but was too rattled to speak, had watched the incident unfold.

"He heard the frantic tooting and looked up and saw the thing crash into it," she said.

The truck's cab was almost completely demolished and the engine travelled 35 metres before stopping in a paddock adjacent to the tracks.

Then KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said that despite there being no barrier arms or signals at the crossing stop signs and visibility were adequate at the time. No previous incidents had occurred at the crossing. 

Waikato Times