As part of the Australian Trucking Association’s Technical and Maintenance Conference the Highway Hero Honoured at the event was involved in this crash, as reported on local TV. The accident on the Calder Freeway, to the north of Melbourne, saw a tanker rollover in an accident involving a number of cars and another truck.
The driver of the second truck, Renzo Bruschi, was awarded the Bandag Highway Guardian Award at the Award Ceremony in Melbourne’s Docklands, last night.
The morning of May 24 started out just like any other for Renzo, who has been a truck driver for more than 30 years. That all changed when a petrol tanker carrying 60,000 litres of fuel rolled over on the Calder Freeway.
Renzo’s truck was one of around 10 vehicles involved in the crash. Renzo jumped out of his truck and into action without hesitation, running over to assist the driver of the tanker who was calling for help.
The 52-year-old said, “There was fuel and smoke everywhere; I just thought it was not a question of if this was going to blow but more a question of when, so I just sprang into action to help get him out as soon as possible before something happened.”
“The tanker was on its side and I initially tried to break the windscreen; and it shattered – but didn’t break, so I had to climb up and pull him out through the door which was facing skyward.”
After assisting the tanker driver, Renzo turned his attention to an overturned car which had ended up in the gutter and had fuel running through it.
He crawled through the back passenger door and helped the extremely traumatised driver from her vehicle and led her away from the scene. “I just did not stop to think at that point, I just did all I could to help,” he said.
I went to the other vehicle which was crushed to see if I could help but unfortunately that person was already deceased.
“I hope something like this never happens again, but if I did, I know I’d do the same all over again,” Renzo said.
The Awards night also saw the Craig Roseneder Award presented to Cade Robinson, who works for Borg Manufacturing, Somersby, NSW. Cade had been joined earlier in the evening by the other two nominees for the Award, Scott Gardiner from Star Track in Minchinbury and Dale Hedley, from Vellex, Wetherill Park.
The Craig Roseneder Award recognises technical and maintenance excellence in the workshop by an individual, and celebrates the professionalism of the men and women who work behind the scenes in the trucking industry’s workshops.
Also honoured on the night was David Coonan, a long time member of the team at the ATA and a specialist in the field of trucking regulation and development. He retired, due to ill health, from his role as policy officer at the ATA, back in 2014. He received the 2016 ATA Technical Achievement Award.
David started his career as a diesel mechanic. He then managed the Department of Housing and Construction’s ACT vehicle fleet, before joining the ACT Government as its Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles. He later worked as a senior transport policy officer for the ACT and Australian governments.