A TRUCK carrying beer was left teetering on the edge of an embankment after a crash, which ejected the driver into a field and left the Hunter Expressway strewn with debris.
The expressway, near John Renshaw Drive at Buchanan, was closed for several hours on Monday after the truck lost control and ran off the road about 7am.
The vehicle reportedly hit a pole, before its trailer detached and the truck cabin crashed off the road and into a ditch.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter, NSW Fire and Rescue, police and paramedics were called to reports that a truck had crashed and the driver had been flung from the vehicle.
"Firefighters arrived on the scene to find a truck had lost its trailer and rolled down an embankment, injuring the driver and spilling the contents of the truck across the road," NSW Fire and Rescue said.
"The crash detached the diesel tank, which resulted in fuel leaking in a nearby water catchment."
The driver, a man believed to be in his 50s, suffered severe chest and head injuries in the crash.
Rescue teams had to extricate him from among the debris. He was treated at the scene before being taken by ambulance to John Hunter Hospital. The helicopter's specialist medical team escorted the patient to hospital, where he remained in a critical condition on Monday night.
"The scene was confronting with multiple challenges and hazards," NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Jaime Warhurst said.
"Paramedics along with our specialist medical teams did a fantastic job to safely extricate our patient, they provided ongoing treatment before transporting him."
The incident left debris, including kegs and bottles of beer, scattered for more than 50 metres along the expressway.
It was a challenging site for the clean-up crew with smashed glass, cardboard, cans and liquids scattered on the bitumen.
Hazardous materials teams from Rutherford and Newcastle fire stations were sent to the scene to contain the diesel spill and worked with NSW Police, NSW SES and the NSW Rural Fire Service to render to area safe.
The police crash investigation unit took over the scene, while traffic management crews opened a contra flow to reopen the road to motorists at a reduced speed limit.
The crash unit and Hunter Valley police will investigate the incident.