Policeman killed in highway collision

POPULAR Tweed Heads police officer Senior Constable David John McCormack was killed in a car crash on the Pacific Highway north of Coffs Harbour on Sunday afternoon.

The 42-year-old off-duty detective was on his way home after watching the Hastings Valley Vikings under-18s, a club he founded in 1996, win their grand final on Saturday with a convincing 36-0 victory against Coffs Harbour.

Senior Constable McCormack's four wheel drive and a southbound semi-trailer collided at Halfway Creek, midway between Coffs Harbour and Grafton about 2pm.

The policeman, who was alone in his vehicle, died at the scene.

Late on Sunday night police said authorities were still trying to determine the number of people in the 4WD. It is understood this was because of the extent of the damage to the vehicle.

The driver of the semi-trailer was treated for shock.

A 20-year-old man was arrested a short distance from the crash site and was taken to Grafton Police Station for questioning.

He was subsequently charged with aggravated dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

He was refused bail and appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday.

Mark Bombardieri, 20, of Chevron Island in Queensland was remanded into custody by magistrate Kim Pogson. He was not required to enter a plea.

He will face court again via a video link on August 27.

A car allegedly involved in the collision had earlier been involved in a pursuit, Police Minister David Campbell told AAP yesterday.

"As I understand it, the off-duty police officer swerved to miss an oncoming vehicle and that has caused an accident," he said.

"There is of course a police investigation and a coronial investigation underway into that accident and for those reasons I need to be careful about what I'm saying."

However, Mr Campbell did say the car that allegedly caused the accident had been pursued by police 'some hours' before but was not being pursued in the lead-up to the crash.

"I understand that there had been a pursuit earlier in the day but the details around it need to be considered by the coroner and the investigating police," he said.

The Halfway Creek accident blocked both lanes of the Pacific Highway until 5.30pm on Sunday.

Traffic was diverted inland, and Avon Medway from Nana Glen said there was 'heaps' of traffic on Bucca Road and the Orara Way all Sunday afternoon, with the traffic becoming bumper-to-bumper at times on the narrow roads.

The Newcastle Hazmat unit was called to Halfway Creek, retrieving 60 litres of diesel from the damaged semi-trailer's fuel tank and building a bund to contain another 200-300 litres of spilled fuel.

A 51-year-old woman taken to Grafton Base Hospital in a serious condition following an accident on Sunday was involved in a different accident, where a tree fell on a car at Dalmorton. The woman is now in a satisfactory condition.



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