THE drive home from a Cecil Plains job site ended in tragedy for experienced plant operator Gordon Davies.
Close family friend Arnette Tighe said the 60-year-old had been working for Probuild Civil at a Cecil Plains roadworks site since Wednesday last week, staying at Adora Downs at Mt Tyson.
He was driving home to his farm at Nimbin, New South Wales, after work on Friday when he collided with a grain truck about 4pm at the intersection of the Toowoomba Karara Rd and Clifton Pittsworth Rd.
Police investigating the crash said it appeared Mr Davies had failed to stop at a stop sign while travelling east on the Clifton Pittsworth Rd.
His Great Wall ute collided with the side of the B Double, which was travelling north on the Toowoomba Karara Rd.
Officers said the ute then rolled and caught fire, with passers-by unable to free Mr Davies before his vehicle was engulfed.
Ms Tighe said her children and grandchildren had adopted Mr Davies as a father figure.
"He was a truly lovely man," Ms Tighe said.
"My children and grandchildren love him so much."
She said her family's loss was accentuated by the horrible circumstances of Mr Davies' death.
"It was the way he died.
"That is the most difficult thing."
Ms Tighe has been travelling between her Nimbin home and Mitchell in western Queensland for the past seven months in her role for Maranoa Animal Rescue.
She said Mr Davies would often help her transport supplies and rescued animals.
Mr Davies had also worked as an underground miner for 25 years before he became a plant operator.
"None of us really know how to cope with this.
"He had a big focus on safety.
"He was always a very ground, very decent man.
"We thought he was invincible."
She said Mr Davies had never married or had children of his own.
Clifton police officer Senior Constable Greg Burton said the truck driver, a 60-year-old Coominya man, was treated for shock.
Snr Const. Burton asked any witnesses to the crash to call Clifton police 46973120.
The forensic crash unit is investigating.
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