SAM Kumar woke up on Wednesday expecting a normal day.
But, the Murrurundi BP Roadhouse manager received a call from staff members stating otherwise.
Just before 7.30am, police responded to reports a semi-trailer had been stolen from the petrol station.
It had been seen driving erratically south along the New England Highway, through Muswellbrook and towards Singleton.
Mr Kumar said he knew the regular truck drivers well, including the one whose vehicle went travelling down the highway, while he was paying the $400 fuel bill.
“It was a really big morning for me,” the manager said.
“Everything’s alright here.
“I know all the truckies.”
Mr Kumar, who is accustomed to working in an otherwise calm location, will be assessing what happened during the eventful morning.
“We will keep an eye out now,” Mr Kumar said, adding he will be working with police in their ongoing investigations.
After leaving the station, the driver rushed the truck down the highway.
Police did not initiate a pursuit.
As the truck approached Singleton, officers deployed road spikes in order to stop the vehicle.
The truck continued into George Street, Singleton, where it caught fire after crashing into several vehicles and buildings, injuring a number of people.
Four patients were treated at the scene, including a 64-year-old male in a critical condition, with head and chest injuries, and a 62-year-old female with pelvic and hip injuries.
Both were taken to John Hunter Hospital – the male by air, and the woman by road.
The driver of the alleged stolen truck was arrested at the scene.
A critical incident team will now investigate all circumstances surrounding the incident, including the deployment of road spikes.
That investigation will be subject to independent review.
Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Anyone who can assist police should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.