Crane driver Matthew Eccles cleared over fatal Melbourne freeway crash

The scene of the fatal accident where Joseph Hrin was killed in September 2018. Picture: David Crosling
The scene of the fatal accident where Joseph Hrin was killed in September 2018. Picture: David Crosling

A crane driver who plowed into a tradition fixing a load on the side of a busy Melbourne freeway has been cleared of dangerous driving causing death.

It took jurors less than an hour to find Matthew Eccles not guilty in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of 34-year-old Joseph Hrin on the busy Western Ring Road in September 2018.

The aftermath of the deadly crane and truck crash in Melbourne.  Picture: David Crosling
The aftermath of the deadly crane and truck crash in Melbourne. Picture: David Crosling

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At the time of the crash, Mr Hrin and his colleague Enok Sunthang stopped in the emergency lane to secure a loose load on their truck.

The jurars were told the pair had switched on their hazard lights and were wearing high-vis clothing.

It was alleged Mr Eccles drove the crane into the emergency lane and crashed into the truck, leading to Mr Hrin’s death.

Joseph Lian Hrin, originally from Myanmar, died after being hit by a passing crane in Deer Park on Tuesday, September 18.
Joseph Lian Hrin, originally from Myanmar, died after being hit by a passing crane in Deer Park on Tuesday, September 18.

But defense lawyer Jason Gullaci, Mr Eccles’ defense barrister, urged the jury to keep an open mind about the evidence.

He urged them to focus on where the truck was parked in the emergency lane at the time of the crash and the size of the lanes along the freeway.

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