Critical incident team from Port Stephens police command investigating Singleton truck crash

A critical incident team made up with Port Stephens police is now investigating all circumstances surrounding a truck crash in Singleton that injured eight people on Wednesday.

The investigation will examine the response of authorities in the lead-up to the crash, including the deployment of tyre spikes, which is protocol when a member of the public is injured or dies during the course of a police operation.

Paramedics treated eight people at the scene of the crash in George Street about 9am on Wednesday.

Four people were taken to hospital including a 67-year-old man who was in a critical but stable condition in John Hunter Hospital on Wednesday night.

The investigation comes after a 29-year-old man, identified as Rodney Johnson, allegedly stole a semi-trailer loaded with mushroom compost from a Murrurundi service station.

Murrurundi is more than 100kms away from Singleton.

The truck was being refuelled at the time it was allegedly stolen about 7.30am.

Officers have alleged they sighted the vehicle driving erratically south on the New England Highway through Muswellbrook and towards Singleton.

A short police pursuit was initiated near Singleton Heights, where tyre spikes were deployed to bring the truck to a stop.

However, the truck ploughed into the township of Singleton, colliding with cars and buildings in its path.

The truck came to a halt in George Street shortly before 9am after it collided with a telegraph pole and burst into flames.

The George Street pub, a neighbouring heritage-listed home and a bus shelter were severely damaged.

The driver of the alleged stolen truck was arrested at the scene.

After he was taken to hospital with minor injuries and for mandatory blood and urine testing, Johnson was escorted to Singleton Police Station.

He was charged with:

  • Steal motor vehicle
  • Two counts of police pursuit (Skye’s Law)
  • Two counts of use an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention 
  • Two counts of assault officer in execution of duty 
  • Resist officer and;
  • Two counts of malicious damage

Johnson was refused bail and was to appear in Singleton Local Court on Thursday.

Port police part of the critical incident team are now investigating.

The investigation will be subject to independent review.