Brisbane truckie Chris O’Brien is warning other drivers to be on high-alert along the Ipswich Motorway after a frightening rock-throwing incident that smashed the windscreen of his 4900 Western Star last week.
O’Brien had been coming from the Brisbane Markets where he was unloading potatoes and had just exited Ipswich Road up on to the Ipswich Motorway at around 8.30pm on September 27.
He’d barely driven 300m on the short home stretch to his depot when there was an almighty bang and a shower of windscreen glass inside the cab.
“I can’t say they were young youths because I didn’t see who it was, but I do know for a fact they were standing up on top of a sign [announcing the Granard Road exit],” said O’Brien who went back to the scene the next day to get photos of where it all happened.
“They had thrown multiple rocks and it looks like half a brick has got the windscreen on the passenger side and put a hole in it and sprayed the entire cab with glass, right to the back of the bunk.”
“I’ve seen a lot of serious truck-related incidents before but I’ll tell you what, this one here gave me a good fright. It’s taken the cake for the sheer panic of it.”
O’Brien said many things go through your mind in those harrowing split seconds, especially when you’re going 70km/h, including avoiding a collision with the many motorists all around you.
But by far his biggest fear was for the safety of his 11-year-old daughter who was with him at the time.
“I know she’s not meant to but as we were pulling out of the markets, my daughter had just gone and laid down in the bunk, and I tell you what, I thank my lucky stars that she did,” O’Brien said.
“With the amount of glass embedded in the passenger seat, I wouldn’t like to think about what the outcome might have been had she been sitting in it.”
When his daughter went to sit up, O’Brien told her to stay put and not move.
“I’m glad I did because she was absolutely covered in glass as well. Everything was covered in glass.”
O’Brien says he’s since spoken to other drivers who have had something similar happen to them in that area in the past and they all told him that it’s a hard experience to shake.
“To this day they said they still have nightmares about it, and I’m not a soft bloke but the first couple of nights after it, they were hard.
“That’s why I’m trying to get a bit of awareness out there about it. This is horrific, and if this had happened on the driver’s side, we might not be having a conversation at all right now.
“This could have been so bad on so many levels, and not just for me, other road users as well.”
O’Brien was told by the police he called on the roadside that night to go to a station the next day to file a full report, but so far he hasn’t heard of any progress on catching the offenders.
“If it is youths what can they do about it? But maybe it might turn a few heads, or lift a few eyebrows if we get it out there a bit more.”