License article

Melbourne Express: May 22, 2014

On mobile and web, kickstart your day with breaking news, commuter and weather updates, giveaways and the hottest events around town. We want your thoughts and feedback. Post a comment, email or tweet to @theage

truck icon for Melbourne Express

Just updating that crash on the Princes Highway, and we've confirmed that it involved a fertilizer truck that has collided with a truck carrying gas bottles in Sale.


At least two people were trapped in the three-vehicle pile up, and firefighters feared a gas leak and explosion.


It is not clear if the people remain trapped. An air ambulance is currently attending the scene along with seven emergency vehicles from the CFA and SES.


A CFA spokesman confirmed that a truck had collided with a tractor earlier this morning, before a third vehicle "ran up the back".


Firefighters were initially planning to "flare" the area - deliberately burn off any leaking gas in a controlled explosion - but decided this wasn't neccesary, the spokesman said.


The fertilizer truck was carrying Superphosphate, the spokesman said. 


We'll be back with more Melbourne Express tomorrow.

truck icon for Melbourne Express

We're also hearing of ANOTHER truck crash, this time on the Hume Freeway near the Craigieburn exit

truck icon for Melbourne Express

Two people are trapped inside their vehicle on the Princes Highway at Stratford near Sale following the earlier collision that left gas bottles strewn across the road. There are reports that 30 firefighters and paramedics are working to free them...

Police say the truck driver in this morning's incident has yet to be charged with any offence but he is potentially facing traffic charges including recklessly endangering life. When he has been psychiatrically evaluated he will be taken to Prahran police station to be interviewed.


Reporter Patrick Hatch says that the "device" strapped to the man's head was NOT a bomb as feared "but they would not explain what it was". 


Senior Sergeant Bourke said the truck driving on the freeway in the wrong direction was an “incredibly risky” situation.

“We had a number of trucks that were the first vehicles coming in the other direction. If we’d had trucks going 100 km/h in each direction colliding, that would have caused some major, major issues, we probably would have had some fatalities on our hands today.”

Police feared the man at the centre of this morning's Monash Freeway bomb incident had an explosive device strapped to his head.


Liam Mannix reports that when police first encountered the man after they were alerted by motorists to what appeared to be a broken down truck on the Monash Freeway near Toorak Road.


When police arrived on the scene the man, 35, got out of the truck and spoke to officers, but they could not understand what he was saying, a police spokesperson said. The man "spoke quite a bit but the police weren't able to understand what he was saying ... so we backed off and tried to negotiate with the male.”


About five minutes later the man hopped into his truck - which police said was owned by his trucking company - and sped off down the freeway. Police pursued him until he did a sudden U-turn and accelerated the wrong way down the freeway heading toward oncoming traffic at around 100 km/h.


"He managed to stop the truck just in front of the civilian vehicles," the spokesperson said. "If we had trucks going at 100 km/h in each direction colliding ... we probably would have been looking at some fatalities."


Police evacuated about 150 drivers from the scene. They didn't move the vehicles off the road because they were mostly trucks and would prove too difficult to move, the spokesperson said.


After about 10 minutes of negotiations with police the man then exited the cab of his vehicle and following police instructions removed his clothing before he was arrested.


“He was speaking in a manner that really want making sense at all," said Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Martin Bourke. 


“He wasn’t affected by drugs or alcohol, but appeared to have some sort of mental condition that was affecting his ability to speak with us.”

“After about 10 minutes of negotiation he got out of his vehicle, he took his clothes off of his own free accord, completely naked, he removed the device, and walked towards police and did exactly what he was told and surrendered.”



The man is now at the Alfred Hospital where he is undergoing psychiatric checks. "Clearly he had psychiatric issues," the spokesperson said. However the man did not make any threats nor was he affected by drugs or alcohol.

Back to top

Another update on the truck drama from a police press conference moments ago - police say the man driving the truck this morning "clearly has psychiatric issues". He has not been charged with anything and is at the Alfred Hospital undergoing assessment. 

Monash Freeway reopens after bomb scare

Motorists can expect delays near the Monash Freeway after it was closed following a bomb scare. Nine News.

The truck driver at the centre of this morning's freeway chaos is at the Alfred Hospital under psychiatric observation. Police say when they stopped him after a chase he was found to have a "device" around his head, which was feared to be a bomb. A spokesperson said they were unable to negotiate with the man successfully as he wasn't making sense, and that he was found to have "a device" strapped around his head. After 10 minutes of negotiation the man stripped naked, removed the device and surrendered. He was taken to hospital in a naked state.

Melbourne express icon

The Monash is flowing pretty freely after being closed down - but surrounding roads are cactus. So this might sound odd but take the Monash if you can....


Today's top images from around the world, as chosen by photo editor Simon O'Dwyer.

Melbourne express icon

Reports now of a crash on the Western Ring Road at the Greensborough Bypass with heavy traffic on the Greensborough Highway. 

Back to top

The Monash Freeway has reopened after the earlier bomb scare. A spokesperson for the Alfred Hospital has told reporter Liam Mannix that the truck driver who was brought in for observation after allegedly telling police he had a bomb "is in a stable condition" but would not give further details. 

Another major road closure now with news that the Princes Highway is closed at Stratford near Sale with gas bottles strewn across the road following a collision between a truck and a tractor. 

truck icon for Melbourne Express

We're hearing that two people are trapped at an accident on the Princes Highway at Stratford near Sale following a collision between a tractor and a truck that has left gas bottles scattered across the road... 

Today's horoscopes...

Expect a long commute in today if you're driving as the earlier Monash closure flows on through to other roads... we'd suggest leaving later if you can or catch a train.

Back to top
Melbourne express icon

The Monash has REOPENED and is flowing well but the chaos from earlier is continuing to affect other roads with the Eastern stop-start inbound right through to Hoddle Street, very heavy on the Nepean Highway, and crawling on CityLink.

The Monash has re-opened but it appears traffic is already building after it was briefly, and weirdly, a brilliant run in. Meanwhile on Dandenong Road it's cactus...

The 35-year-old Caulfield South man arrested by police following the dramatic standoff and truck chase this morning on the Monash Freeway is currently at the Alfred Hospital where he is under observation

More details now on the truck drama direct from the police, as it happened:


Police were called to the scene inbound near Toorak Road around 4am following reports of a broken down truck. 

When officers arrived, they located what appeared to be a suspicious device strapped to the driver. When police approached him, the man drove away towards the city. Officers then began following the truck. 

A short time later, the driver suddenly changed course and began travelling on the wrong side of the road before stopping near Toorak Road. 

Police evacuated a number of cars as a precautionary measure as they began negotiations with the man. 

The 35-year-old Caulfield South man was arrested around 4.30am and taken to The Alfred for assessment

The freeway was shut down as a precaution and the Bomb Response Unit attended. The BRU has now declared the area safe and the freeway has been reopened. 

truck icon for Melbourne Express

We'll have a major update on the truck drama shortly after 8am, when we're expecting more details from police. We know the bomb squad examined the truck and declared it clear, and that police arrested the driver, a 35-year-old man from South Caulfield after intercepting him driving the wrong way down the Monash Freeway around 4am. 

Back to top