Truck runs into shop, kills woman
An elderly woman was killed and two other passers-by injured yesterday when a broken-down crane truck rolled down a slope and crashed into a grocery shop.
The vehicle had just been unhooked from a tow truck that was not powerful enough to pull it uphill on Eastern Street, Western district.
It ran backwards for more than 10 metres and struck a man before crossing a two-lane section of Queen's Road West, hitting a woman and crashing into the grocery store.
Witnesses said the 84-year-old woman was trapped by the truck's rear wheel. She was declared dead at the scene.
The man, 58, suffered head and hand injuries. A 77-year-old man was hurt by flying debris from the crash, which happened at about 12.40pm.
Police arrested the driver of the truck, Kwan Chun-wa, 43, on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death. Vehicles more than 10 metres long are banned from that section of Eastern Street.
Chief Inspector Michael Kao Yau-ki of the Hong Kong Island traffic unit said initial measuring showed the combined length of the crane and tow trucks was more than 10 metres.
Kwan said he had taken all necessary precautions before unhooking the truck. When he found his vehicle lacked sufficient power, he stopped on the slope and called for help. It had rolled downhill 20 minutes later.
'The [broken-down] vehicle started running backwards when it was unhooked,' said Kwan, who works part-time for the towing company.
'I tried to jump into the driving cabin to stop it, but failed,' he said. 'I immediately shouted asking people to escape.' He said he had applied the handbrake, wedged wooden blocks under the wheels, and put the vehicle in gear before unhooking it.
The owner of a nearby herbal drink shop said the man who was hit suffered head and hand injuries and passed out, but later regained consciousness. 'The woman was trapped behind the rear wheel of the truck. I only saw her hand and leg and she was motionless,' she added.
The third victim was the owner of a handbag stall next door to the grocery store. 'He saw the truck running down the slope. He jumped out of his stall to escape, but was hit by flying goods, injuring his waist,' said his business partner.
After being freed by firefighters, the woman was declared dead by paramedics at the scene. The men were treated at Queen Mary Hospital.
Kao said police were looking into whether the crash was due to negligence or a mechanical fault.
Police have asked anyone with information to call 3106 8849 or 3661 1620