By CRAIG McTEAR
THREE days after the Coffs Coast Advocate launched its Highway Hell series on the Pacific Highway, this death trap of a road has struck again.
Yesterday at 4.30pm, a major accident at Moonee involving two semi-trailers and five cars claimed at least one life, possibly more.
Details at the time of going to press were limited as accident investigation officers, ambulance, fire brigade, rural fire service and SES personnel tried to piece together exactly what happened.
One driver involved in the smash was understandably shaken.
"It seemed to happen in slow motion. I couldn't really tell you at the moment what's happened," the man said.
"I was the lucky one out of all that."
The scene, 500 metres south of the Lake Russell Gallery turnoff, was horrific.
A semi-trailer, carrying the corrosive agent sodium hypochloride, was facing south in northbound overtaking lanes, with a silver sedan crushed underneath. The chemical tank was not ruptured.
Debris was spread for about 50m either side of the impact zone, while a guard rail had been pulverised.
A Holden Commodore station wagon had come to rest just beside the carnage, facing the same way as the semi, while there was major damage to a blue four-wheel-drive which was off the road just to the north.
Skid marks were clearly visible on the other side of the highway just north of the accident scene.
Just to the south of the smash, two cars were parked on the eastern side of the highway. The rear of a Holden and the side of a Mitsubishi were damaged.
Another semi-trailer with scrapes on the bumper-bar was parked further south again.
Peak-hour traffic was banked up for at least 10km either side of the smash as emergency crews worked into the night to clear the wreckage.
. The Coffs Coast Advocate's Highway Hell series continues Thursday.