Fatal truck crash inquest: Police say brakes were overheated, ineffective

By Loukas Founten | October 16, 2014

Police investigating a fatal crash involving a truck at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway in Adelaide earlier this year have told an inquest that the truck’s brakes were overheated and ineffective.

Senior Vehicle Examiner Eliot McDonald was giving evidence into the death of 41-year-old truck driver James Venning, who crashed into a wall on the northern side of Cross Road in January.

Vision showed the driver braking heavily during his 10-kilometre descent from the Adelaide Hills to the Glen Osmond Road and Cross Road intersection.

Mr McDonald told the inquest the brakes on the prime mover were overheated, as were some on the trailer, but could not say whether that was a result of heavy braking prior to the crash or from a previous occasion.

He said three of the six brakes on the trailer were ineffective, two were partially effective, and only one worked completely.

Mr McDonald said he was not qualified to discuss the effect of that on stopping distances.

The inquest has heard that the truck was moving at least 125kph on impact.

Simon Samon, who managed a group of farms at Pinnaroo in the state’s east for the Mitolo Group, which ran Mr Venning’s truck, said the driver was making his third trip from Pinnaroo to Virginia in the northern Adelaide plains.

He said the fatal trip was Mr Venning’s first using the freeway and he was likely to have taken that route because a bushfire was obstructing his preferred route via the Riverland.

Mr Samon said the truck and trailer were given a “once-over” the day before and two brake lights were replaced.

The inquest was due to close on Wednesday.

Source: www.abc.net.au