WITNESS: I grabbed the steering wheel and man-handled it
A HORRIFIC traffic crash involving three vehicles has left four people injured and community members concerned about roadwork signage.
The crash happened at 12.20pm on Tuesday.
Witness Alan Fogarty said he saw the aftermath of the crash, which occurred at roadworks on the New England Highway near Dalveen. Two body trucks and an SUV containing a family were involved in the pile-up.
Fire service workers used hydraulic equipment to extract the driver of the moving truck from his vehicle.
The man, in his 30s, was airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital with serious internal injuries, a broken nose, broken pelvis and cuts to his left leg.
Five others were transported to hospitals in Warwick and Stanthorpe.
Warwick and District Community Road Safety Group secretary Andrew Gale was sitting in the same roadworks on the New England Highway near Dalveen just three hours before the crash occurred.
Ironically, Mr Gale was travelling to Stanthorpe for a council and community road safety consultative meeting.
He said he felt nervous because the roadworks were positioned in a "high-risk" area at the bottom of a hill and at the end of an overtaking lane.
"Anyone with driving experience could tell you that people travel a lot faster near the end of merging lanes and quite often they are distracted by the sheer act of merging," Mr Gale said. "There has been a large amount of comments on social media sites and trucking networks about near-misses that are occurring there."
Mr Gale is calling on the Department of Transport and Main Roads to review the signage at the roadwork site.
"I am sure Main Roads are complying with regulations but I would call on them to have a look at all the signage with a view to upgrading it."
TMR has been contacted for comment but did not respond by time of print.
Mr Fogarty recalled the sight of one of the men trapped in his vehicle and his efforts to help him escape.
"We were trying to get the door off the truck open to help him and it wasn't a very nice sight at all," Mr Fogarty said.
"He was stuck between the steering wheel and the dashboard - all sitting on his chest and I grabbed the steering wheel and man-handled it out of the road. His leg was trapped under the seat.
"I couldn't tell you what caused the accident but he made an awful mess of himself and his vehicle."
The man was conscious as he was airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital.
"He called me over to the ambulance and thanked me for helping him."
Mr Gale investigated similar accidents when working as a police officer and said it was lucky the accident wasn't worse.
"You have to realise you are a sitting duck when you are stationary on the road. You can just sit there and get squished," he said.
The roadworks were part of the New England Highway Safety Package works between Warwick and Stanthorpe.
The works include a new overtaking lane, wide centreline treatments, hazard zone vegetation removal, linemarking and a minor intersection upgrade at the Mount Stirling Road intersection.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said appropriate signage and safety measures were in place at the roadworks site at the time of the crash.
Five others were transported to Warwick and Stanthorpe Hospital including a female child and a man in his 60s and have now been discharged.
The truck driver remains at the Toowoomba Hospital in a stable condition.
Police investigations into the crash are continuing.