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Brazen rock throwers leave truckie fearing for his life

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Russell Garner was left fearinf for his life after rocks were thrown at his Kenworth

A BRAZEN rock throwing incident in front of the police station at Benandarah in New South Wales left veteran Victorian small fleet operator Russell Garner fearing for his life and with a broken windscreen and other damage to his Kenworth.

The cowardly incident occurred around 8.30pm during October as Russell was driving his trusty Kenworth 604 and transporting plastic tanks.

"All hell broke loose and around 12 youths threw rocks at my Kenworth and the windscreen and three other smaller windows were hit and damaged. The culprits were aged about 13 or 14 and didn't even run away. It was right in front of the police station and they didn't seem to care," Russell said today.

I asked Russell did he report the rocking to police which he didn't.

"The police station was unmanned so there was no point," he said.

Russell, who has health issues, said it was a scary incident and one he will be haunted by for many years as he travels the highways and byways.

The main windscreen will cost Russell $1000 to have repaired and he won't bother claiming it on insurance.

"My excess is $1000 and I would have had an insurance premium increase if I had claimed it. So it wasn't worth it," he said.

He had to continue on with a damaged windscreen and three weeks later on October 31 when back home in Victoria was waiting for the repairs to be done.

"I have a truck which is legally unroadworthy until it is fixed. This has caused me emotional and financial problems," he said.

Not surprising either. For Russell this was the third occasion his trucks have been rocked with considerable damage done.

Some of the damage to the Kenworth
Some of the damage to the Kenworth

"The first time was at Bourke in NSW and the second occasion was in the main street of St George in Queensland and those were about three years ago," he said.

Incidences of trucks being rocked are reported from time to time with the culprits mainly doing these criminal acts from bridges or overpasses.

Road transport is a genuine family affair for Russell whose depot is at Mildura in Victoria.

Russell, who celebrated his 58th birthday in late February, has two Kenworth's which are driven by his sons Michael, aged 33, and Steven, 31.

"They transport grapes from Robinvale and Mildura to a winery at Wangaratta. But Michael works in South Australia in the off season," Russell said.

Russell who has suffered some health problems in recent years still drives when required and also directs the trucks from the depot.

"On our property are some trucks owned by my father Clarrie who is aged 89 and now in an aged care facility. Dad had 10 trucks including five Kenworths and four internationals. His company had delivered grapes for 61 years," Russell said.

Just when I thought that was the total number of family members involved I was wrong.

"My sister Margaret does all the paperwork," Russell enthused.

Russell is a real character and has travelled the highways and byways around the country during his 41 years in the industry.

I had to ask Russell did he get any free wine given his association with the drink enjoyed by millions of Australians.

"No way. I went to a wedding once with some mates and really got into the wine and haven't touched a drop since. And that was 40 years ago," Russell said.

That may be so but you can bet your bottom dollar that many Aussie men and women enjoy the wine made from the grapes the Garner family delivers.

Jack of all trades Russell not only works from his depot but also fixes trucks them if they break down.

I asked Russell what the roads were like down in Victoria.

"They are not as bad as in NSW where the Hume is good but many others on the back routes are terrible," he said.

I came across Russell back in 2015 outside Mareeba in far north Queensland when he had a huge load of farming equipment from Wentworth in NSW headed for Cooktown.

It ended up being a marathon four day journey.

He had parked his Kenworth at a rest area between Mareeba and Mount Molloy.

"I have a load including a tractor, a backhoe, slashers, a log splitter and various workshop equipment and it is for a 72-year-old gentleman who has moved to Cooktown. He is retired from his NSW business but may get into something up there," Russell said.

Russell was happy to meet many new people at Cooktown.

"It took four days to get there and everybody we seen made us welcome. That was also the case at the Lakeland Roadhouse," he said.

Russell carts a lot of produce for the Adelaide markets.

A passionate supporter of the Collingwood Magpies in the AFL, Russell is quietly confident they will do well next year after losing the 2018 grand final to the West Coast Eagles.

Source of article click here : BIG RIGS

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