Stawell mother tells of trauma after coming close to death on Western Highway

A mother of three from Stawell feared for her life when her former partner of eight years allegedly dangerously tailgated her while travelling on the Western Highway on July 5. 

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had left Stawell with her two young daughters at 1.47pm and was driving to Melbourne to visit her eldest daughter for her birthday when she noticed her former partner in the rear vision mirror erratically driving a black SUV. 

“He was very close to the boot of the car and I was traveling at 100 kilometres,” she said.

“I was unsure as to why he was following us but it made me nervous due to years of domestic violence abuse.”

The anxious mother continued driving and noticed the bonnet of the SUV.

“He was parallel to the front end of my car and remained there for a while,” she said.

“My youngest daughter was very afraid and ducked down when she saw her Dad quite close to her side of our car.

“She screamed Mum, we're going to crash- It was quite a traumatic experience for us.”

The SUV allegedly repeated the same manoeuvre, forcing the mother to drive dangerously close to the centre line of the Highway. 

“A van flashed its lights at me probably because I was driving too close to the other lane,” she said.

“I managed to pull away from him- I accelerated to 120, passing a commercial vehicle that read Carpet Choice.

“As I looked again in the rear vision mirror, I saw him pull up on the left side of the road, where he proceeded to do a U turn back towards Stawell.”

Police are investigating the incident. 

Ararat Detective Sergeant Guy Menhennitt called on anybody who witnessed the allegedly erratically driven black SUV to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Ararat police on 5355 1500. 

Stawell Sergeant Bill Alford said district police were dealing with incidents of domestic violence on a regular basis.

“This is a concern to us,” he said. 

“Incidents do not seem to be lessening.

“The only way we can counter this is through education, community involvement and action groups- but this will take time.”

The woman said she wanted others to speak out.

“I could have died that day,” she said. “Speak up and don’t let it escalate.”

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