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Families seek closure

DANGER SPOT: The Rungoo overpass in Cardwell when it was under construction, it has since opened.
DANGER SPOT: The Rungoo overpass in Cardwell when it was under construction, it has since opened. Alf Wilson

A BRISBANE truck driver has been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death more than four years after the B-double he was driving was involved in a fatal collision with a tilt train, which resulted in two locomotive drivers dying.

Townsville train drivers Richard Wetherell, 54, and Michael Smithers, 53, were killed in the crash, which occurred at the Rungoo level crossing on the Bruce Hwy about 25km south of Cardwell on November 27, 2008.

Truck driver Michael Joseph Nugent, 67, was charged by police with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and the matter was mentioned in Tully Magistrates Court on March 13.

The matter was adjourned until March 27 when Mr Nugent was due to appear in the Roma St Magistrates Court in Brisbane (further details were not available at the time of printing).

Les Moffitt, of the Townsville Branch of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union spoke to Big Rigs on March 15 and said it had taken a long time for the investigation to be completed.

"The families of the locomotive drivers hold no grudge against the truck driver but find it very hard to find closure on this terrible event while the case continues," he said.

"By the same token it must not be too pleasant for the truck driver's family not knowing his fate as well.

"We are now looking at four years, three-and-a-half months since the accident occurred and court proceedings have only just commenced.

"For the sake of the people involved we hope that this case is given priority and is resolved as soon as possible."

"The Rail Safety Investigation has exonerated the train drivers from any wrong doing so the families would like to know for peace of mind what actually caused this terrible accident.

"The families hope that some good comes out of this experience in respect to a review on how these types of accidents can be finalised more expediently."

An overpass built over the Rungoo level crossing opened to traffic in early December 2012.

Topics:  alf wilson fatalities

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