Traffic was down to one lane after a truck carrying boxes of apples crashed on the Coastal Highway on Friday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

Crash ‘could have killed’

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Three people could easily have been killed in a crash on the Coastal Highway on Friday when a truck and trailer lost control after swerving to avoid a head-on collision and careering towards on-coming traffic on a blind corner.

Instead, everyone walked away after the truck driver “did a magnificent job” and the two car drivers reacted quickly, taking evasive action to miraculously miss the the truck and its trailer which flipped and skidded across the road.

The truck driver was shaken after the crash but the only casualty was a trailer load of apples which was strewn across the Coastal Highway near Pukeko Lane.

“We could have easily had two people dead in one car and another dead in the other car,” senior constable Alfred Blair, who attended the crash, says.

“The truck driver did a magnificent job to avoid a head-on and the two drivers did well, too.

“There was a couple in the first car and the partner yelled ‘floor it’ to the driver and they just accelerated out of the way. The second car went up the bank to miss the truck and trailer so everyone was very lucky.”

Truck driver Gerard Bruning says he’s “just thankful everyone is safe” after the three-way near miss.

“I’m so glad no one was injured. Someone must have been looking after us.”

Gerard, who drives for Thomas Brothers, says he swerved to avoid an on-coming truck that had allegedly crossed the centre line to drive around a tractor mowing the roadside grass.

“I thought it was going to be all over, I really did. I knew the trailer had gone and I felt the truck going too, and I thought this is it.

“The wheels were at least a metre off the ground but it came down and then there was a whole heap of traffic in front of me. There was a vehicle that shot off up the bank – he was lucky because I was across the road.

“When I came to a stop, I got out to make sure everyone was alright and then I got back in the truck and dragged the trailer off the road. It was unbelievable – it could have been a whole pile up.”

The driver of the second car, Tom Broderick, says Gerard “did everything right” to avoid a head-on collision with the on-coming truck.

“He couldn’t go anywhere else,” Tom says. “He wasn’t going fast and did really well to get out of the way, but his truck hit the bank and the wheels lifted up and the trailer tipped over.

“The truck veered out towards us and I knew I had to get off the road, so I shot up the bank. Everyone was so lucky.”

The Coastal Highway was closed to one lane and police diverted traffic onto the Moutere Highway while the road was cleared.