Police suspect Cheung Sha Wan crash truck driver fell asleep

55-year-old critically ill following surgery; man in passing truck has serious head injuries

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 4:07am

Police are investigating whether a truck driver was dozing at the wheel before his vehicle toppled onto a central divider in Cheung Sha Wan yesterday.

The crash sent the container it was transporting crashing into a lamp post, which crushed a mini-truck travelling on the opposite carriageway.

Three men were injured in the crash, which in Ching Cheung Road occurred outside Lai Chi Kok Park at about 10.15am.

The truck, heading towards Kwai Chung, was switching from the fourth lane to the third lane on a bend when the shipping container it was carrying toppled to the right, police said.

"Its driver, 55, switched back to the fourth lane in an effort to stop it from flipping over, but failed," Senior Inspector Ng Chun-piu of the Kowloon West traffic unit said.

The container, which held more than 15 tonnes of cloth, hit the central divider and knocked down a lamp post, which fell onto the mini-truck. Police said the lamp post crushed the passenger side of the driver's cabin.

A 58-year-old passenger in the mini-truck suffered serious head injuries and fell into a coma, while the driver, 64, had minor hand injuries.

The container truck hit another lamp post before stopping.

It took firefighters more than an hour to free the 55-year-old truck driver, who was trapped in the wreckage and unconscious.

The three injured were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment. The truck driver was critically ill last night following an operation. The other driver was released, but his passenger was in serious condition.

Four cranes were used to lift the container truck off the central divider before it was towed away at about 2.30pm to a government vehicle plant on Lantau for examination.

Officers are investigating whether the driver of the container truck was asleep at the time of the accident.

"It is possible that the driver woke up and found the truck was about to slam into the central divider and then made an abrupt lane switch, but caused the container to topple onto one side," the senior inspector said.

Ng said police were also looking into whether there was a mechanical fault or the truck was overloaded.

Police said the site of the crash was not an accident black spot.