The safety and speed of a road train that careered on to the wrong side of the road and killed a farmer as well as the road conditions of the notorious Coalfields Highway are under the coronial spotlight at an inquest.
Coroner Barry King today started investigating the circumstances surrounding the November 2008 death of Peter Rudolph Nuske in a collision with a road train carrying coal fines 18km west of Collie.
The inquest will tomorrow hear evidence from the owner of the truck, Geoffrey Leslie Armour, who is serving a 26-year sentence in a Victorian jail for the Melbourne shooting murder of Des Moran in 2009, which was orchestrated by gangland matriarch Judy Moran.
Also set giving evidence today is Armour's de facto partner Suzanne Kane, who was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to Mr Moran's murder.
Ms Kane spoke with truck driver John Cooper soon after the crash that killed Mr Nuske, the inquest heard.
Armour's WA trucking company, Armour Haulage, was placed into liquidation under mounting debt in May 2009.
Counsel assisting the Coroner Emily Winborne said the inquest would examine if factors, including the truck's weight, load distribution, speed, driver experience and road conditions, contributed to the trailer overturning.
She told the court the issue of reporting the matter to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was an important consideration in this inquest.
Mr Cooper told police he was travelling at about 100km/h - which is the posted limit - before the crash. However, there is an advisory 80km/h sign at the uphill bend where the crash occurred.
Major Crash investigating officer, Sen. Const. Mike Jones, told the inquest the truck's entire weight was just below the allowed 90-tonne limit and there was no evidence of excess speed.
He admitted he had failed to pick up at the time that the truck was unregistered and said the statute of limitations had expired for any charge to be laid.
Sen. Const. Jones said there was no evidence to support Mr Cooper's claims to police that Mr Nuske had been on his mobile at the time and had ventured on to the wrong side of the road. He said gauge marks on the road indicated the truck had veered into oncoming traffic.
Eyewitness Lynette Yaksich said she saw the trailer swaying and after the crash heard the truck driver screaming: "I've killed him, I've killed him."
She believed the truck was travelling at between 40 and 50km/h at the time, but Sen. Const Jones claimed that was an inaccurate estimate.The inquest continues.
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