Trucker came close to death in moose accident near Howley exit

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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DEER LAKE A truck driver from Conception Bay South says he’s lucky to be alive after his truck hit a moose on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Howley exit last month.

Contrary to police reports at the time, Bob Hewitt said he did not swerve to avoid the moose, which he called, “Small, possibly a yearling or a little older.” He hit the animal straight on just before sunrise on Aug. 1. He remembers hitting the shoulder of the road but after that it’s a blur.

It was the time of day that truck drivers call “Nar-dark” when the light is such that it could either be considered daytime or nighttime. It’s one of the most dangerous times for driving, said Hewitt.

He said it was like the moose just appeared out of nowhere.

“If there was a magician there I’d have asked him where he conjured that moose from,” said Hewitt. “I had two 150-watt lights on my mirror arms and my high beams were on and that moose still appeared out of nowhere.”

The trucked flipped off to the opposite side of the road just past the shoulder and came to rest on its roof, completely destroyed, with the load of beer he was hauling spilling out of the trailer. He was not immersed in water, as the police reports at the time had stated, and was able to squeeze out of the truck through an opening in the sleeper.

Hewitt’s scalp was shattered as a result of the accident, needing 75-80 stitches. He suffered no internal injuries and has bruises and lacerations all over his body. He is currently doing physio therapy for his muscles.

He didn’t want to comment on methods to prevent moose accidents in the future, except to say that he does feel safer traveling through areas of the highway that are fenced.

Hewitt plans to head back to work as soon as he can. He has two children in university, and says he still “Has to eat, like everyone else.”

The truck was the only vehicle in the accident. Hewitt wasn’t sure who called emergency services to the scene. He spent a few days at Western Memorial Hospital before heading back out to St. John’s.

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, Western Memorial Hospital

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  • Jo
    September 08, 2013 - 00:12

    Moose don't come 'out of nowhere'. Alert drivers see them in the ditch long before they step onto the road. I am one of those drivers. Every time I make a trip across the island I see more than one moose and slack off the gas in plenty of time to see them trot safely across the highway, then I am on my way again. Stop blaming the moose for man's inability to focus on their driving!