THE Newell Highway was partially blocked for three hours yesterday after a crash between a truck and a ute occurred at 10.15am.
Both cars had been travelling south when the crash happened about 200m before Success Park Ln, about 35km north of Moree.
The ute, being driven by a man, 61, from Grafton and with a 28-year-old Irish national aboard, had stopped to turn right when the truck, carrying a load of steel, slammed into the back of the vehicle.
Both men in the ute suffered internal injuries.
Both the driver’s legs were fractured, while one of the Irishman’s legs was fractured.
Both men were taken to Moree hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service which had landed on the highway to pick them up.
They were stabilised there, then taken to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
The truck driver, 29, received a small graze to his head, a laceration to his leg, and was in shock.
The force of the crash pushed the car off the road and down an embankment, Inspector Steve Laksa of Moree Police said.
Insp Laksa said he was unsure if the ute had rolled, but it appeared that it had, because the roof was partially caved in and the car was on its side when three police
cars from Barwon Local Area Command arrived.
“The ute looked amazing (badly damaged),” he said.
The State Emergency Service and a Rural Fire Service truck with five people board attended the crash scene.
The Newell Highway was closed in both directions for an hour, then one lane of the highway was reopened about 11.20am.
The highway was fully open again by 1.30pm, Insp Laksa said.
He said the truck driver had been taken by the police to Moree Police Station for mandatory blood-alcohol testing.