An Adelaide woman who escaped twice in eight years horrific crashes at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway wants to see changes to make the notorious intersection safer.
- Barb Stewart survived Sunday’s crash and a fatal crash in 2014 at the same freeway intersection
- A truck collided with a bus and several cars
- Nine people were taken to hospital with injuries
Barbara Stewart was one of nine people injured in the crash at the intersection of Portrush and Cross roads at Glen Osmond about 3:45pm on Sunday.
She stopped at the lights on Cross Road while driving to the shops when she experienced déjà vu.
“I heard a bang and then I saw a truck coming for me,” she said.
“I thought it was about to happen again because back in 2014, we were one car away from the unfortunate fatal when the truck came down the hill… we missed that by a second or two.
She said she remembered little from Sunday’s crash but was told emergency services cut her out from the wreckage of her car.
“I remember getting on the stretcher and looking around at the debris, the cars and the fire trucks – it was like a scene from a bad movie.”
Intersection site of 2014 fatal crash
Sunday’s crash was the latest in a long list of fatal and serious crashes at that intersection, also known as the Toll Gate.
Thomas Spiess, 56, and Jacqui Byrne, 41, were killed in 2014 when a sewage truck lost its braking function and collided with vehicles at high speed when traveling on the down track.
The government at the time quickly responded by reducing the speed limit to 60kph for heavy vehicles between the Crafers exit and the Toll Gate.
After the double-fatal crash in 2014, Mrs Stewart avoided the intersection for many months, opting for other longer routes to her destination.
“I think I’d never go on that road again,” she said.
“If they don’t do something about that corner, it [a serious crash] will actually happen again.”
Waste truck company Cleanaway Operations was found guilty of failing to adequately train its driver, Darren Hicks, who was also severely injured in the same crash.
The Department for Infrastructure and Transport is investigating ways to make the freeway safer, which may include a third arrester bed.
‘Guardian angel’: Survivor
Security footage from the Tollgate Motel showed the truck involved traveling at speed towards the city in Sunday’s crash.
A bus and seven cars also collided with the truck.
Police said it was a miracle that none of the people involved in the crash suffered serious injuries.
Mrs Stewart was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with several cuts on her head and right arm from broken glass, and a bruised elbow.
She said a “guardian angel and a good steady car” saved her.
“If I was in a smaller car, I mightn’t have been as lucky as I am,” she said.
Mrs Stewart was thankful to a paramedic who reassured her while she was still trapped inside her car.