Engineer gives evidence about the truck load
A JURY has heard evidence from a forensic crash investigator and a mechanical engineer in relation to a fatal accident where a 1.88kg steel pipe fell off the back of a truck, hit a tourists' car and caused it to burst into flames.
Mechanical Engineer Denis Richard Larson informed the Rockhampton District Court that had appropriate timber cradles had been placed under the steel pipes, along with friction pads, and other element of the load security remaining, the pipes would not have moved, nor become free as they did.
Mr Larson explained those elements of load securing needed to be put in place before the pipes were lifted by crane on top of the green steel frame.
The evidence was presented to the jury in the trial of David Walter Neil Cox who has pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death.
The accident took place about 4am on December 6, 2014, near Raglan on the Bruce Highway and two Chinese tourists travelling in the car the pipe hit - Xinzi Che and Man Tat Sze - died at the scene.
Cox was the driver of the truck carrying a 13 tonne green steel frame with two 1.88 tonne black steel pipes on top which was being transported from a Bechtel site at Hay Point to Toowoomba.
The court heard on Monday the load was one of 400 that travelled between Hay Point and Toowoomba after Wagners bought a walking bridge from Bechtel and it was transported in pieces by subcontract truck drivers.
Supervisor and truck escort William Victor Webb told the court yesterday that he recalled an alleged conversation with Cox that the straps holding the steel pipes to the green frame could only used for moving the cargo around the Bechtel site, not for long haulage.
The court heard he only recalled this conversation in October 2017 and at that point he rang the lead investigator of the crash who told him he should raise it with the crown prosecutor.
The court heard the following evidence from the lead investigator today.
Forensic crash scene investigator Sergeant Michael Hollett clarified that at no time during his conversations with the witnesses who worked at the Bechtel site had any of them raised recalling a conversation with Cox advising him the straps holding the pipe down were only for the purpose of moving the cargo around the site and not long haulage.
Questions were also raised on Monday about why only one wooden cradle, which was wider than the pipe in diameter, was used instead of two to support the pipes. The court heard one flat piece of timber was used in place of the second cradle underneath each of the steel pipes, with the pipes tilting to the centre of the trailer. The straps in question then criss-crossed over the pipes.
Judge Michael Burnett in summing up the evidence for the jury before they retired said the crown prosecution's case relied on a conversation Cox had with a police officer at the scene after the accident, saying he should have put more straps on and he didn't like the pipes being on top of the frame in the first place.
Mr Burnett said the defence claimed the 'more straps' comment was made in hindsight.
He also referred to evidence that Cox told police he had stopped twice after leaving the Bechtel site to check the straps, tightening them on the first occasion.
The jury retired for deliberation at 3.30pm.