Victorian police have charged a man over a serious crash in Southbank that left five pedestrians injured.
Police said the 64-year-old driver from Wyndham Vale was arrested after the incident on Thursday night. On Friday night he was “initially” charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
In a media statement, police said it was alleged that while turning left, the truck cut the intersection corner and mounted the footpath, knocking over a traffic light.
Five pedestrians — four men and a woman all aged in their 20s — were injured.
The driver has been remanded into custody and will face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today.
Earlier, investigators said the B-double tanker was turning left from City Road on to Power Street about 7:00pm on Thursday when it mounted the footpath.
The tanker did not stop at the crash scene and left via Power Street.
Earlier, the driver’s employer said the driver had told them he was “unaware” of the incident.
The K&S Group said in a statement that the man had worked for the company for nearly 10 years and was on his way to a depot in a company truck at the end of his shift.
“Our thoughts are with the people and the families of those involved,” K&S Group managing director and CEO Paul Sarant said in a statement
“It’s obviously a very serious matter which is being fully investigated by the police and the company. We’re advised the driver maintains he was unaware of the incident.”
Police said a motorist who saw the crash unfold followed the truck and provided information that helped officers find the driver.
A truck, believed to be that involved in the crash, was found in Truganina in Melbourne’s west.
Investigators have appealed for anyone who saw the incident or who has dashcam footage to come forward.
Ambulance Victoria said the five pedestrians were taken to two different hospitals.
Two men in their 20s were taken to the Alfred Hospital with lower body injuries.
One remains in a critical but stable condition while the other is in a stable condition.
Two men and a woman in their 20s, were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with lower body injuries.
The men are in a serious condition and the woman is in a stable condition.
Southbank resident Peter Duras was at the scene of the crash shortly after it happened.
“My stomach just turned, it was just horrifying to see people lying everywhere, ambulance officers doing their best and police and fire cars everywhere,” he said.
Mr Duras said the corner had been a concern for years, because trucks with placarded loads were not allowed to enter the Domain or Burnley tunnels, and were funnelled onto City Road.
“As the area is built up more and more and more highly developed it’s become a definite concern because you see the difficulty which some of these vehicles have getting around that corner,” he said.
“This is a high density residential area so it’s possibly inevitable that one day this would happen.”
Another Southbank resident Janine Patterson said last night’s crash was an accident “waiting to happen”.
“That particular corner had a recent build on it and it actually decreased the size of footpath available for pedestrians to stand safely,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
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