There’s not many people who can say they’ve been hit by a 54 tonne truck and survived, but Brad Jessup can.
It was a regular Monday morning in mid October and Brad had taken his canine companion, Berkeley, to doggy day care in Yarraville. He almost never made it home.
Walking back to his car he was hit by a truck while using the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Ballarat and Francis Streets. The truck had gone through a red light.
‘I wondered if I was dead. I couldn’t breathe properly,’ he says. ‘If it weren’t for Andria (his first responder) I don’t think I’d be here’.
‘She was holding my hand and was able to calm me down, which allowed me to regulate my breathing. I just remember saying to her “please don’t leave me”. She’s an all-round super human being.’
It’s going to be a long recovery for Jessup who’s been left with six fractured ribs, a head injury, punctured lung, a massive hematoma and a damaged sciatic nerve. ‘If I’d been an older person, or a much younger person I’d be dead.’
First responder Andria has been left shaken by the event. She was crossing Francis Street with her 11 year old son and witnessed the terrifying moment Brad was hit.
‘My son and I are left traumatised by this experience, the crossing is a death zone, it’s so dangerous,’ she says. ‘Children should not be allowed to cross here.’
In July this year the same pedestrian crossing was damaged by another truck which took out the overhead traffic lights at the spot. In that incident a pedestrian suffered serious injuries after the truck hit the traffic light pole, sending it crashing onto their head.
The damaged lights have still not been replaced and Andria is fearful of the safety implications.
‘Without an overhead light it’s impossible to see a red light when the road is backed up with trucks, which is a regular occurrence,’ she says.
Maribyrnong Truck Action Group President Martin Wurt says the missing traffic lights are a disgrace.
‘It’s outrageous the overhead signal has been missing for over four months,’ he says. ‘This accident proves just how dangerous it’s become to cross here. Our community deserves better.’
And the community is growing, rapidly. New housing developments in the area mean that even more people are now using the Francis/Ballarat St pedestrian crossing and Wurt believes it’s a recipe for disaster.
‘Francis St is a residential truck route with over 1.5 million trucks each year, we need immediate measures to make this pedestrian crossing safe,’ he says.
‘Why do residents have to fear for their lives just to take their kids to school? We cannot live like this for another two years while we wait for the promised West Gate Tunnel Project’s truck bans which are now years behind schedule.’
MTAG wants to see a range of safety measures applied including; longer stopping distances before the crossing, pedestrian barriers, speed humps, high visibility paint markings and early warning lights for when the crossing is activated. At the very least they want the missing traffic lights replaced.
‘At the moment there’s just this one dodgy traffic cone at the site,’ says Brad Jessup. ‘I don’t know what it takes for them to take this seriously.’
The Westsider reached out to local MP Melissa Horne for comment but instead received a media statement ‘attributable to a Department of Transport and Planning spokesperson’.
The statement said that replacing the traffic light was complex due to the location of gas pipelines but that works were expected to begin by November, weather permitting.