Stopping A Runaway Truck On M1

Sherry & Daniel Thornton
Sherry & Daniel Thornton
Sherry & Daniel Thornton

A Letter To The Driver – One Week On …

Local Tamborine residents, Daniel and Sherry Thornton were taking a leisurely drive down the M1 on 27 June on their way for a day of jet skiing when something out of the ordinary happened. A double B truck suddenly veered across four lanes of traffic into their path, hitting a guard rail and then another car. Dan, feeling he needed to quickly reach the truck, gave chase and pulling his own vehicle up in front of the truck, he ran back, ripped open the door to the truck and jumped into the cabin to discover the driver in a state of seizure. Dan pushed the driver out of the way and then swiftly pulled up the truck.

In his own words one week on, Dan recounts the ordeal in a letter to the truck driver he amazingly saved from further disaster:

“As I drive, my mind racing as I watch your truck veer across the road, slamming into the guard rail. I feel the adrenaline rise – I stare in disbelief as the truck, still rolling at pace, veers back across the M1. My senses sharpen, as I push the accelerator down in a desperate bid to catch up to you, other traffic peeling off to the sides, now past you and stopped I exit my vehicle and run at yours, potentially 90t of it …. I clamber up, it’s still moving. I open the door, windows heavily tinted, I’m not sure what to expect. There you are caught by your seatbelt, slumped forward. I climb into your world as I climb into the cab. I JAMB ON THE BRAKES and engage the park brake then switch the engine off, my thoughts return to you and your condition, foaming from the mouth and unconscious I realise you’re not just asleep, unbuckling your seat belt that has been restraining you, I push you from the drivers seat and onto the floor of the truck – desperately trying to get you in a recovery position. Your now positioned on the passenger seat and your body strewn out on the floor of your truck, I stand with my back to the front windscreen of the truck, propping your chest on my legs as I continue to try and wake you, talking to you – my previous first aid training is finally being put to use. I call at somebody who has approached the cab to call an ambulance. There are 2 women that appear in the cab, to my left, a passer by, to my knowledge just a caring person, to my right, an off duty police officer. “You’re in good hands” I thought to myself. As my heart rate calms, I can hear a voice – your missus who has been on the phone through Bluetooth during the entire ordeal, I ask of any medications or medical history that might be relevant. I tell your missus that you and the truck are fine and pass your phone to my wife, who has been anxiously waiting outside the rig, wanting to help but not sure how she could – until now. You slowly start to come to, I ask your name several times, you tell me your name, holding your head, I see you are sore. “5 minutes, ambulance inbound” somebody yells. I think to myself “fantastic”. It feels like it’s been hours, but only 10 or 15 minutes is the reality, I continue to prop your body up with mine, trying to keep you calm as you fall in and out of consciousness. I hear the ambulance arrive and as the cab empties, it’s just you and me again for brief moment, I say a quick prayer and the cab is beginning to fill, this time with officials – Ambulance officers, 2 of them. I realise my job is done and reassuring you once more, I retreat from the cab, as I step onto the surface of the M1, I see the emergency personal totally around 50 and the scale of it all for the first time. A police officer pulls me aside and asks for my statement, I recount the event, and as I do, begin to realise what’s just happened ……
To my new found mate …. I can’t wait to catch up one day, I know you had kids to tend to and you weren’t feeling well the next morning, but, I’m still going too shout you that Rum! The events that took place have rattled me, shaped my week and caused me to re-evaluate, so I wanted to say “Thanks mate, ONE WEEK ON!”
– Dan”

Thanks Dan, you are a true Aussie hero!