Hit-and-run truck driver leaves more destruction than just a mess on the road

It was a case of the things that go bump – an extremely loud and large bump – in the middle of a Sydney summer night. It was well after 3am last weekend when I noticed a police van outside my inner-west home with officers pointing flashlights around the rear of my car.
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CCTV vision captured the moment a semi-trailer hit two parked cars in Leichhardt. Photo: supplied

As I made my way outside into the dark in a hastily-snatched bathrobe and slippers to investigate, I could see that a neighbour’s vehicle, owned by a mother of two, had been wrecked following an accident involving an out-of-control truck.

Debris from the smashed, uninsured Kia vehicle, including glass from the shattered rear window, was strewn across half of the street. My brand new, two-week old Mazda 3, which was parked in front of the Kia, had been lifted by the impact of it and was forced up to 10 metres down the street, even with the park brake activated.

Somehow, in contrast to many of my neighbours, who like many a Sydney inner-city dweller do not benefit from off-street parking, I’d managed to sleep through the noise from the accident (though, strangely, I’d been woken by the sound of another impact – my home-delivered Sun-Herald landing on my timber verandah).

Outside, with my fellow assembled neighbours also in various states of night dress, the attending police explained that the truck had careered, almost tank-like, into the two parked cars. It failed to stop and left a mess, not just physically but emotionally, behind him.

Theories abound as to the reason such as the driver being intoxicated or drugged or having fallen asleep at the wheel, or maybe all three. Perhaps he’d been checking his mobile phone and had lost control. Whatever the cause it’s a lesson as to what can transpire.

From the outset the police were sceptical about finding the driver unless a number plate could be found. Clearly, if the truckie was to be identified it was going to be up to us, the victims – that is, my neighbours and me – to investigate. The attitude of the police suggested that because no one was physically injured the matter didn’t warrant their full attention.

The incident had been captured by private CCTV cameras attached to neighbours’ houses on both sides of the street though the number plate of the truck could not be made out. So spectacular was the crash that the CCTV footage ended up both on the Herald website and the evening news.

Frustratingly, and despite the fact that the video had been viewed by tens of thousands of people, the truck driver has not been identified or come forward.

Admittedly, far worse things would have happened around Sydney that night. My vehicle is repairable, though I’ve been back and forth with my insurer, GIO, about the circumstances of what was a seemingly unusual incident, even though the police say that such hit-and-run accidents are by no means uncommon.

But, as for the mother of two, her vehicle is a write-off and she’s been left without her own transport over Christmas and New Year and beyond, unlike, presumably, the low-life hit-and-run truckie.

Anthony Dennis is a Herald journalist. Anyone with information about the incident should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000