A pregnant carer ran into the path of a truck in a bid to save the life of an eight-year-old autistic boy who had jumped out of their car and raced across the M1 Motorway.
The Cooranbong woman, 27, and the boy were killed instantly when the truck hit them in the southbound lanes on one of the nation’s busiest roads about 5.30pm on Sunday.
It is unclear why the woman stopped in a breakdown lane of the M1 Motorway at Cameron Park, although it is believed the boy had a history of attempting to flee moving vehicles.
Emergency services at the scene of a fatal accident on the M1 Motorway at Cameron Park, between George Booth Drive and Link Road. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers
“What we do know yesterday was that a Tarago van was travelling south on the M1 at Cameron Park. They pulled into a breakdown bay,” Traffic and Highway Patrol acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said on Monday.
“The driver got out of the vehicle and opened the side door.
“At that stage, we believe an eight-year-old child has entered the roadway followed by a 27-year-old carer.
“Obviously both were killed, we believe instantly, when a pantech truck travelling south collided with both of those individuals.”
Police were still contacting relatives of the dead woman on Monday afternoon.
The boy is believed to be a ward of the state and cannot be identified.
A Family and Community Services spokeswoman released a short statement, which read: “The death of any child is a tragedy. The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) was deeply saddened to hear about the death of a young boy and (the) woman near Newcastle on Sunday.
“As this is currently a police investigation, FACS is unable to comment further.”
The truck driver, a 57-year-old man, was severely shaken by the incident and was taken to John Hunter Hospital suffering shock.
He would also undertake mandatory blood and urine testing.
The welfare of emergency services personnel who attended the scene is also being closely monitored because of the tragic circumstances.
There were nine deaths across NSW roads on the weekend, including a second double fatality near Deniliquin on Saturday night where two men were killed when a utility rolled.
“The weekend has been an absolute tragedy on NSW roads,” Mr Smith said. “A tragedy is probably an understatement. We had nine deaths.”
He later added: “It is a tragic day for emergency services, but the nine deaths on the weekend would be affecting hundreds more.”
“There would be families who are grieving today. All of the investigations are underway and it’s critical we get to the bottom of them.”