Community rallies behind Mooroopna truck driver following accident

By Liz Mellino

Family and friends have rallied behind a Mooroopna man seriously injured during a truck accident on the Midland Hwy at Stewarton last week.

Andrew Sutton, 28, known by many as AJ, remains in an induced coma after the truck he was driving left the road for unknown reasons about 3.15 am on July 9.

Following the collision he was flown to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition, where he has remained for the past five days fighting for his life.

With coronavirus restrictions stopping Mr Sutton's family from being able to travel to Melbourne to be by his side, close friend and fellow truck driver Chris Walker-Bartlett set up a Go Fund Me page to help ease the burden during his recovery.

“He's only a young bloke and he's had a lot to deal with in his childhood ... my heart sank when I heard the news,” Mr Walker-Bartlett said.

“I set the page up to help him, he's got a long road ahead of him and he's going to need all the support he can.”

Establishing the page on Monday night with a goal of $10,000, donations quickly flooded in.

Mr Walker-Bartlett said he was shocked to see the community had already managed to raise close to $3000 in less than a day.

While the news of Mr Sutton's accident came as a horrific blow to family and friends, Mr Walker-Bartlett said the news also hit close to home.

“A few years ago his father was in a truck accident as well and his father is permanently in a wheelchair now ... to see that happen to his father and now he's going through the same thing pretty much, it's devastating,” he said.

“He's already had two surgeries but he has got a long road to go.”

Following the collision, Mr Sutton's friends and family took to Facebook to share their best wishes for the "strong-willed, funny and loving" son, brother and friend.

“He is a Sutton, he's born strong-willed, he'll pull through. Thoughts are with you all,” one Facebook user wrote.

For the foreseeable future Mr Sutton will remain in Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he currently is in a stable condition, recovering from his injuries.

Mr Walker-Bartlett said he hoped during this time the community would continue to rally behind the much-loved truck driver, urging everyone to get behind the Go Fund Me page to help support the family through this unimaginable time.

“The generosity of everybody so far has been amazing — every dollar helps at the moment,” he said.

“I keep in regular contact every day with his parents and get updates on AJ's condition through them; they're so thankful and appreciative of what everyone has done.

“We all want to thank those people who have already supported him and continue to support him.”

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