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Injured truckie wants answers – and awareness – after Moree bypass rock-throwing incident

ROADS and Maritime Services has been asked to work with Moree Plains Shire Council and local police to make the Newell Highway Moree bypass a safer place to drive for long-haul truck drivers and motorists.

The call by member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall comes in the wake of a rock-throwing incident on the bypass early Saturday morning when 46-year-old Queensland truckie Andrew Myers miraculously escaped serious injury when a cricket ball-sized rock was hurled through the windscreen of his rig.

Mr Myers was treated at Moree Hospital for a gash to his forehead that required six stitches.

He said it was a miracle that he avoided a major accident, adding that prompt action needs to be taken.

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Security fencing along the Newell Highway Moree bypass has been in disrepair for several months, allowing vandals easy access to the highway’s kerbside, where they are making easy targets of vehicles that are using the bypass. A serious accident is waiting to happen, says rock-throwing victim Andrew Myers. (Image Copyright Bill Poulos)

“Drivers are at risk just minding their own business, doing their job,” Mr Myers said.

“Driving trucks is an occupation with enough risk involved, without adding this dangerous behaviour to the mix.”

Mr Myers was travelling at 43kph when three youths ran onto the highway and began throwing rocks at his prime mover.

He said there was a fine line between what happened next and what could have happened.

“The fact that they ran on to the road actually caused me to prop, because I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.

“I was driving along minding my own business and looking out for where the next parking bay was with the intention of pulling up and having a sleep,” Mr Myers said.

“It was basically only centimetres between what is a bad enough injury sustained by me, to what could very well have resulted in a fatal, direct injury.”

Mr Myers, who had his 18-year-old son travelling with him, said the possible outcomes from such reckless behaviour were frightening.

“Driving into another vehicle with a possible worse outcome of not only myself but others sustaining minor or major trauma,” Mr Myers said.

“I don’t want to reflect on this possibility . . . it’s distressing enough with what happened.”

Mr Myers has questioned who is accountable for a dangerous problem that that has been prevalent for the past 12 months – not just in Moree, but at other centres across Australia.

“In this day and age of workplace health and safety, who is responsible for ensuring my workplace, a major highway that I have since found out has a long history of this happening, is as safe as can possibly be for not only myself, but for the thousands of other road users that pass through every day, every week,” Mr Myers said.

“Someone in some department must be accountable. Is it the Moree council, RMS, State Rail, state government or federal government?

“Is this where the required actions should have been addressed and put in place, or is the expectancy in their minds that it’s someone else’s problem,” he said.

“I am angry that it happened. Everything is preventable when it comes to work, health and safety so why, when it’s a known hazard with high risk, was nothing done to help prevent my injury.

“If something like this happened within my business, WorkCover would close me down until fully investigated and a determination made on who was accountable for such a questionable breach,” he said.

” I just want all those accountable to be made so. Education will only work when it’s accepted; ignoring such things does not make it go away, as already proven.”

State member Adam Marshall said that action to improve the safety of drivers along the bypass and catch those who participate in the “gutless and disgraceful” behaviour was long overdue.

“The fences along the bypass should be regularly monitored and any damage repaired quickly,” Mr Marshall said.

“I have requested that RMS management immediately work with Moree Plains Shire Council and the local Police to devise a number of strategies to deter this sort of behaviour, which does nothing for the good reputation of Moree.

“Fencing, hedges and CCTV cameras all have to be on the table as options. The safety of motorists has to be paramount,” he said.

“Local Police do their best, but they are frustrated by the ease these people can set up along the bypass and escape when the Police arrive.”

Moree Police attended the scene and searched the immediate area, but were unable to locate any persons of interest.

Mr Myers was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Moree Hospital.

Officers from Barwon Local Area Command have commenced an investigation and would like to speak with three males who may be able to assist with inquiries.

All three are described as being of Aboriginal -Torres Strait Islander appearance, aged about 14 to 20 years, and were last seen wearing dark clothes.

FOOTNOTE: Andrew Myers is forever grateful for the prompt attention he received at Moree Hospital and the follow-up work by Moree Police. In the days after the incident, Moree Hospital staff have been in touch with Mr Myers via Facebook to ensure he is doing well, and Moree Police officers attending the incident have since messaged and emailed to inquire about his health and well-being.

“Police and hospital staff have been amazing,” Mr Myers said.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.