Truckie 'really good guy'

TRUCK DRIVER: Cory James Clements
TRUCK DRIVER: Cory James Clements

A trusted employee, a passionate truckie and a bloody good bloke is how workers at Porter Group remember their friend.

Cory James Clements, 28, had worked for the company for two years before he died when the truck he was driving collided with a passenger train at a level crossing in Rangiriri.

From his closest colleague to senior management, everybody felt the pain of his death.

General manager of Porter Group's sales and marketing division, Darren Ralph, said it was an extremely difficult time for Mr Clements' workmates but none of them felt the hurt as much as the young family he left behind.

Mr Clements' family declined to comment yesterday, with a friend saying their pain was still too raw. However, neighbours said the couple married last year and had a 3-year old son together.

Mrs Clements' Facebook friend Aaron Smith posted just two days before the crash that he couldn't wait to see his "mate Cory Clements" on Saturday. Yesterday he began preparations for his mate's funeral.

"It's a particularly personal loss for everybody involved," Mr Ralph said. "He was a really good guy, a really good worker, [with a] really good work ethic and was really well liked."

Police are investigating the incident, with Waikato district road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace saying it would take several weeks.

The southbound Northern Explorer train carrying 108 passengers was due to arrive in Hamilton at 10am but ripped through Clements' rig at 9.40am in Te Onetea Rd, about a kilometre east of Rangiriri village.

The cab was torn from the chassis and the truck's engine lay in a paddock 35 metres away. The compactor Clements was hauling remained fixed to the low loader trailer.

Witnesses to the crash and passengers have been offered victim support by police.

Messages have flooded in from around the region from people Clements dealt with on his daily travels, Mr Ralph said.

Mr Clements loved trucking, was happy-go-lucky and endeared himself to others, he said.

"That's probably why he was driving the rig he was at the time. It was our newest rig and he was entrusted with that."

Mr Ralph said the truck had been in service for only six months before the collision but that was the furthest thing from their minds - the death had swept through "every level of the company".

"The Porter company is a family company all the way through. When someone's hurting, everybody feels the effect."

Waikato Times