Illawarra west of Stawell fatal car crash on New Year’s Day part of 'astounding' 2017-18 holiday road toll: Victoria Police

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, who said the deaths and road rule infrengements over Christmas and New Year's Eve were “nothing short of astounding”.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, who said the deaths and road rule infrengements over Christmas and New Year's Eve were “nothing short of astounding”.

STAWELL’S fatal car crash a few hours into New Year’s Day has contributed to a period of road deaths and infringements that was “nothing short of astounding”.

That is according to Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer.

“In the last eight days we have had six days Victoria in a tragic start to 2018,” AC Fryer said.

“Five of those deaths were on country roads and four of them involved vehicles hitting either poles or trees.”

“This is not the start we wanted in 2018 and certainly not the start we wanted for all Victorians.”

AC Fryer said the road safety message needed to sink in as police could not be everywhere at once.

“The first road death of the year was a NSW family in the Grampians. 

“It was right on dawn and they swerved to miss a kangaroo and it had fatal consequences for the passenger, a 58-year-old woman from NSW down here on holidays.”   

“Slow right down and get there safely. Drive to the conditions. many of the crashes we have seen involved people not driving to the conditions or not to a speed suitable to the roads they were on.”

The single vehicle crash occurred at Illawarra west of Stawell just before 6am on New Year’s Day.

A police statement said the Toyota 4WD had been travelling on Grampians Road when the incident occurred.

There were three other occupants in the car - one was air lifted to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and two others received minor injuries.

Victoria Police’s road policing operation for the Christmas and holiday period, Operation Roadwise, concluded on Sunday night with over 31,000 traffic offences detected and 23 people sadly losing their lives on our roads in the 24-day period.

Operation Roadwise ran for 24 days from 12.01am December 15 to 11.59pm January 7.

Last year 14 people died during the same 24-day period.

AC Fryer  said he was determined that this sad start to the New Year did not continue.

“To lose six people so early in the New Year is nothing short of tragic. That’s six families for which 2018 has become the worst year of their lives before it has barely started,” he said.

“These tragic deaths coupled with the results of our Roadwise Operation are very concerning to police.

“Across the summer period we have seen people engaging in behaviours that are unacceptable and completely inconsistent with keeping safe on the roads.

“Police are out doing our part to enforce the law but I must implore the community to do the right thing in the first place.

“We had over 250 people die on our roads last year, I don’t want to see a repeat.”