A driver who was involved in a horror highway smash that claimed the life of a two-year-old girl posted a photo of his truck and said he was ‘livin’ the dream’ just three months before tragedy struck.
Matt Livingston’s life changed the moment his beloved 42-tonne semi-trailer veered out of control on the Calder Freeway in Victoria and hit three cars at about 2.30pm on Monday.
The accident killed a toddler, from Caulfield South in Melbourne’s south-east, who was sitting in the back of her family’s Volkswagen SUV, and left her parents and baby sister in hospital.
Mr Livingston was released from police custody on Tuesday evening pending further enquiries, before his daughter Courtney said she fears for his mental health.
On Wednesday it was revealed that the 42-year-old was a passionate driver who often posted on social media about how much he loved his job.
Matt Livingston is a loving father whose life changed when his semi-trailer careened out of control on Monday
In a Facebook post in September – three months before the tragedy – Mr Livingston uploaded a photo of his truck (pictured)
Mr Livingston captioned the Facebook photo with the caption ‘livin’ the dream’ (pictured)
The devoted father uploaded an image of his semi-trailer at sunset on Facebook in September – just three months before the accident – with the caption ‘livin’ the dream’.
Mr Livingston’s profile is littered with photos taken from behind the wheel of his truck – most of which include gifs with hearts, comments about his love for truck driving, and endearing messages from friends and family.
Courtney Livingston told the Herald Sun on Tuesday the accident was an ‘absolute tragedy’.
‘I will be surprised if he can survive his own mental health after this,’ she said.
‘A car swerved in front of him as shown on dashcam footage. It’s much more difficult for a fully loaded truck to brake than a normal car.’
Truck driver Matt Livingston (pictured) was involved in a crash on a Victorian freeway in which a two-year-old was killed and her parents and sister injured
Mr Livingston often posted images of his truck on social media (pictured)
The one-year-old girl was released from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne on Tuesday evening.
Jarrod Bell of Victoria’s State Emergency Service said it was a ‘confronting’ scene to attend.
‘Six vehicles and five people trapped, this is one of the largest and most complex calls I have attended in a decade,’ he said.
‘Any incident involving a child is challenging but when we are dealing with the death of a two-year-old that breaks my heart. This call is something that will sit with us for quite a while.’
Police are investigating several factors around the circumstances of the crash.
Police are investigating several factors around the circumstances of the crash (scene pictured)
A two-year-old girl died. Her sister and parents are in critical condition after a horror smash on a busy freeway (pictured)
‘We are too early in the investigation to come up with those answers – whether there is involvement of excessive speeding or drugs, or anything like that,’ Detective Sergeant Mark Amos said.
‘It is simple physics why this happened and if people don’t show some responsibility and respect it, then this will continue… and other families are going to have the single worst Christmas of their lives.’
A 62-year-old man whose car was also hit is still at Royal Melbourne Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
Dashcam footage captured the catastrophic moment the crash occurred.
Police told Daily Mail Australia the crash was still under investigation, and pleaded for anyone who may have seen it unfiled to come forward.
An SES officer said the crash site (pictured) was a ‘confronting’ scene to attend on Monday
Distressing images showed grain and debris strewn across the highway, which was closed when emergency services arrived on the scene.
Onlookers said the wreckage was the worst they had ever seen.
‘Drove past this just after it happened and I felt sick to my stomach. Terrible,’ one woman wrote on Facebook.
Others who were stuck in traffic as a result said they broke down when they saw the tragedy on the news.
Confronting dashcam footage shows the moment the truck ploughs into several vehicles entering a 40km/h roadwork zone.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene on the Calder Freeway in Melbourne ‘s north west, just after 2.30pm on Monday
A car in front of the semi-trailer appears to swerve into the right-side lane, prompting the truck to do the same.
But the truck crashes into the back of a vehicle and a massive multi-car collision follows, ending with the semi-trailer toppling over.
‘This is a catastrophe, this is an absolute disaster,’ Detective Amos said, imploring motorists to slow down.
‘It’s monumentally frustrating to see this sort of stuff… take your time, slow down, look after each other.’
Aerial images showed the large truck on its side with the grain covering much of the road.
Debris from other cars was also strewn across the freeway including a vehicle that was towing a boat.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
AUSTRALIA’S WORST RECENT TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
Jessica Falkholt – December 2017
Craig Anthony Whitall had meth, Valium, methadone, marijuana, and doxepin his system when he veered on to the wrong side of the Princes Highway at Mondayong on the NSW south coast and smashed into the car carrying Home & Away star Jessica Falkholt and her family on Boxing Day.
Parents Lars and Vivian Falkholt died at the scene, while sisters Jessica and Annabelle were helped out of the wreckage by passers-by, but died later in hospital. Whitall also died in the crash.
Oatlands tragedy – February 2020
Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13 died alongside their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, after being struck by a ute as they walked on a footpath to get ice cream in Oatlands, Sydney.
The driver who killed the children was sentenced to at least 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of manslaughter, among other charges.
Richard Pusey – April 2020
The 43-year-old was dubbed ‘Australia’s most hated man’ by a judge after he filmed dead and dying police on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway in April 2020.
Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, and Constable Josh Prestney were hit by a truck while they discussed impounding Pusey’s Porsche after he was pulled over for speeding at 149km/h.
Pusey served 10 months in jail.
Two-year-old girl – December 2021
The toddler was sitting in the back of a Volkswagen SUV when a semi-trailer carrying grain crashed into their car and two others on Melbourne’s Calder Freeway just after 2.30pm on Monday.
Her parents, 35 and 37, were raced to hospital along with her one-year-old sister.
A man travelling in a separate vehicle is also in critical condition after being trapped underneath the truck until firefighters cut him free.