A TRUCK driver has allegedly endured a terrifying ordeal after he picked up two hitchhikers on a remote highway in Western Australia over the weekend.
The encounter reportedly took place when the truckie was flagged down by a man and a woman as he drove towards Karratha, about 1500kms north of Perth, on the North West Coastal Highway about 9am on Sunday.
The couple told the driver they had run out of fuel about 10km from the Pannawonica turn-off and requested a lift to the next petrol station, according to police. But the trip soon took a dark turn as the male hitchhiker started to behave erratically and threatened the driver when he attempted to pull over at a road house.
Police alleged the male passenger tried to take over the wheel of his prime mover. The driver kept driving and eventually made it to Karratha Coles Express petrol station but once there, the alleged attacker only became more aggressive and agitated and continued to wreak havoc, authorities said.
WA Police spokeswoman Susan Usher said the man pushed the driver out of the truck and tried to take control of the vehicle by pressing on the accelerator and turning the ignition. The two hitchhikers got out of the vehicle when they were unsuccessful, WA Today reported.
"It is alleged he threw rocks at the service station building which damaged two glass panels before he threw a fuel pump on to the ground and using a cigarette lighter, lit the tip of the hose causing a small fire," she said.
"Staff and members of the public were able to extinguish the fire."
Coles Express national media manager Blair Speedy told news.com.au he would "not comment" on the incident because it was now a police investigation. He would also not be drawn on whether or not CCTV footage of the incident had been handed over to police.
A 32-year-old man has been charged with two counts of criminal damage and one count of intent to harm. He will appear in Karratha Magistrates Court on Monday.
The incident comes just weeks after a good samaritan stopped his car in Brisbane's south after being flagged down by man claiming to be injured.
The male driver stopped his car at around 8pm after being flagged down by man claiming to be injured on April 10.
Once the driver got out of his vehicle he was attacked by two people, including the man who stopped him in Cripps Street at Salisbury.
Police allege the pair also hit the car with a baseball bat, causing some damage.
After attacking the driver one of the men began rummaging through the car before being pulled away. The driver managed to call for assistance and the pair fled.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the driver only suffered minor injuries to his face. Investigations are continuing.
Police said inquiries into the most recent matter in WA were ongoing, and urged anyone who was at the Coles Express at the time of the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online.