A 73-year-old man was left “screaming and unable to move” in the seconds before he was crushed to death in an Australian car wash, court documents have revealed. The court was told that though police and paramedics had been quick to respond to the emergency call, arriving within minutes of the elderly man becoming trapped, they were unable to help him. It is part of a case against international oil company Chevron, which stood before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Documents released to Daily Mail Australia revealed that the emergency services arrived “within minutes” at the car wash at Springvale in southeast Melbourne in November 2019.
But the information added that the man, who a magistrate and lawyers acting for both parties refuse to name, was beyond the help of the paramedics, even after such a rapid response, and was left “screaming and unable to move”.
Sales assistants at the service station also attempted to help the elderly man, according to the documents, prior to the arrival of the emergency services but were unable to pull him out.
“Minutes later, two ambulances arrived at the scene, Victoria Police members also attended,” the document added.
A witness to the shocking event described the moment she saw the man frantically rush back to his car to avoid being crushed.
The 73-year-old, who was in front of Pietrina Di Noto in the queue for the car wash, had gotten out of his vehicle to re-enter the access code to initiate the cleaning process.
She told the court the elderly man’s fate was sealed when he attempted to make it into the front seat of his car after the wash fired into action.
“He saw the machine move and started to run,” she said, adding that she then saw water starting to flow from the carwash as the man desperately tried to re-enter the front seat of his vehicle.
She said: “I thought ‘Oh no, please get into the back seat’.”
Ms Di Noto said the man managed to open the front door wide enough to get a foot inside before he was cut down by the car wash.
“It would have been better if he’d just walked out,” she said. “It was clear to me. It was obviously dangerous to get in the front. I was shocked.”
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The court was told on Monday that paramedics established that the man’s heart had stopped beating when they eventually managed to reach him, but that they were able to “reanimate” him.
However the man died three days later from such a long period without oxygen to the brain caused by “crash asphyxia”.
It took Country Fire Authority firefighters 16 minutes to arrive at the scene and extricate the man from the machine, the court heard.
While extending its condolences to the family of the man who was killed, Chevron disputed it was the operator of the carwash at the time, saying the incident “occurred before Chevron took up retail operations in Australia”.
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