Bus driver a hero after fatal Warrego Hwy crash
UPDATE 2PM: MURRAYS Coaches driver Chris Tierney has been hailed a hero by police and emergency services after a head-on crash with a 4WD at Oakey today.
Toowoomba Forensic Crash Unit Senior Constable Jon Reid is still on the scene of the crash at Oakey that happened at about 8.30am and is working to determine the cause.
He said the driver of the car, a Brisbane man, had crossed onto the wrong side of the road headed towards Dalby in front of the bus resulting in a head-on impact.
The man was treated by Queensland Ambulance Service and a RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter was called to the scene but he died from his injuries.
Sen Const Reid said without the skill of the driver to safely direct the bus onto the side of the highway, the circumstances could have been life-threatening to the 18 passengers onboard.
"The driver's side of the bus was almost completely destroyed with little to no steering available from the accident, he would have had a hell of a job keeping the bus upright," he said.
One of the passengers, June Crump from Dalby who was headed to Brisbane for a family Christmas with her husband Bill, said she was shaken up from the accident.
"We were just sitting there and the next thing there was a colossal bang," she said.
"Then we were bouncing along, and I closed my eyes, clung to my husband and prayed we weren't going to die."
Passenger Joanne Pechey thought the bus would tip when it went off the road, but Mr Tierney steered it safely to a stop.
While being treated by Queensland Ambulance Service, passenger Kathy Fox from Chinchilla said buses were still the safest way to travel during the holiday period.
"I'm glad to be stranded here, it's beats the other options that could have happened," she said.
"I'll be writing a letter to Murrays to commend Chris."
Sen Const Reid pleaded with drivers to avoid adding to the already horrific road toll.
"It's been a traumatic 24 hours," he said.
Murrays Coaches national fleet manager Justin Cannon said a replacement bus service took passengers through the final leg of the trip to Brisbane.
"We're offering a counselling service to all of the passengers as well as the driver," he said.
He said the service hired only experienced heavy vehicle drivers, and Chris was an ex-road train driver with many years of experience."
Investigations are continuing.
UPDATE 10.30AM: The driver of a bus involved in a fatal crash on the Warrego Hwy near Toowoomba is being hailed a hero.
A man died after the 4WD he was travelling in collided with the bus near the Oakey bypass.
A woman and child were also in the 4WD and were taken to Toowoomba Hospital by ambulance for non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the Murrays Coaches bus has been praised by emergency services for veering off the road and keeping the bus upright, potentially saving the lives of his 18 passengers.
Some of the passengers suffered minor injuries and have been treated at the scene by Queensland Ambulance Service and doctors from the Oakey hospital.
The Warrego Highway at the Oakey By-pass is closed in both east and west directions.
Road diversions are in place either through Oakey township, or down through the Pittsworth Road and Aubigney Roads at Oakey.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
10AM: A man has died at the scene of serious traffic crash between a car and bus on the Warrego Hwy near Toowoomba.
Emergency services remain at the incident near the intersection of the Warrego Hwy and Oakey-Pittsworth Rd.
A woman and child have been taken to Toowoomba Hospital by ambulance.
9.30AM: Several people have serious injuries after a bus and car collided on the Warrego Hwy just west of Toowoomba.
Eighteen people were travelling on the bus and there were three people in the car when the collision occurred near the intersection of the Warrego Hwy and Oakey-Pittsworth Rd about 8.30am.
There are reports at least one of the people involved has life threatening injuries.
A helicopter has been called to the crash site to airlift one of the injured.
The Warrego Hwy has been closed in both directions with diversions established around the crash site.
Motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible.
8.30AM: A truck and vehicle have collided on the Warrego Hwy near Toowoomba with reports the wreckage is on fire.
The crash was reported about 8.30am near Oakey.
There are reports that people are trapped in the wreckage.
One of the motorists involved has life threatening injuries.
The bus was carrying passengers.
Emergency services are arriving on scene.
Traffic diversions are being established around the crash site, which is on the Oakey bypass near the intersection of the Warrego Hwy and Oakey-Pittsworth Rd.