By MARA PATTISON-SOWDEN
A SECTION of the Melba Highway remained closed for much of yesterday (Monday), after a woman died after a collision involving a B-double truck at the bottom of “the slide”.
Police believe a semi-trailer travelling north jack-knifed on the Melba Highway, causing it to collide with two other vehicles heading in the opposite direction around 8.20pm on Sunday 7 April.
Detectives from the Major Collision Investigation Unit were still at the scene yesterday morning and when the Mail went to print.
The section of Melba Highway between Healesville-Kinglake Road and Old Healesville Road was expected to be blocked until further notice.
Emergency services at the scene said the trailer had rolled on the hill and over a Nissan Navara towing a horse float and into a Mitsubishi van.
A Dandenong woman aged in her 50s, and the sole occupant in the van, died at the scene.
A 29-year-old female driver from Pakenham Upper and her passenger a 21-year-old Berwick woman were trapped in the four-wheel drive.
It is believed all three women were heading home from the Albury International Horse Trials.
An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said the 29-year-old woman was trapped for several hours with a leg injury, while the 21-year-old was trapped in the car for an hour with a spinal injury.
She was stabilised at the scene and both were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
One horse died at the scene and the other was euthanised by a local ranger.
Emergency services said there were also two dogs involved, one missing and the other running around frightened at the accident scene.
The truck driver, a 41-year-old Swan Hill man, was taken to The Alfred hospital in a serious condition suffering spinal injuries.
Geoff Stott from Healesville SES said a crew from Kinglake SES had responded first but called on Healesville when they realised they couldn’t get through the collision scene from the northern end of the highway.
Nine members from Healesville SES and seven from Kinglake helped remove the trapped women from their vehicle.
First Constable Suzanne Harvey from Kinglake Police said there were numerous incidents along that part of the road but no more than anywhere else.
“It is known to be slippery in wet conditions, and it is one of the truck routes,” she said.
Emergency services call the twisting, turning part of the highway “the slide”, after the name of the mountain – Mount Slide.
A police spokesperson said that heavy vehicles had a great responsibility on the road.
“This is the second crash in a number of days involving a heavy vehicle, it was described as a tipper and a dog trailer,” he said.
“We implore upon people to take care on the roads, in particular heavy transport employees.”
Anyone that may have witnessed the collision is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au.
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