A SICKENING chain of events resulted in the death of a 31-year-old Brisbane woman and left a Tiaro man with life-threatening injuries after a three-car smash on the Bruce Hwy on Wednesday night.
A ute, a Richers Transport truck and a Toyota Prius were involved in the incident, which occurred about 7.40pm.
Maryborough District forensic unit sergeant Steve Webb, who was at the scene of the fatal crash, said it appeared the utility had crossed to the wrong side of the road where it collided with the Prius, killing the female driver.
The ute had then been hit by the Richers Transport truck, throwing the 27-year-old male driver of the ute from the vehicle.
Sgt Webb said the man was not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
The man was airlifted to Royal Brisbane Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
A 20-year-old female passenger in the Prius, believed to be from Hervey Bay, was taken to Hervey Bay Hospital with minor injuries.
On Thursday she remained in a stable condition in hospital.
The truck driver, understood to be aged in his 60's, was not injured in the crash.
Speaking at the scene of the fatality, Acting Inspector Dan Willet said the smash was an example of another needless loss of life on the Bruce Hwy.
He said the wet weather conditions on Wednesday night played no role in the collision.
"Take precautions, take care when driving and obey road rules," he said.
"(This is) just another tragedy that didn't need to happen.
"It's frustrating for police and all emergency services personnel."
The highway was closed for several hours in both directions on Wednesday night, with traffic banking up for kilometres, as police worked to clear the crash scene before reopening the road.