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Canberra’s annual road toll doubles in one crash

March 21st, 2010 at 05:51am

Canberra’s annual road toll has sadly doubled overnight, and the worst part is that the four deaths appear to have been as a result of a driver failing to obey an instruction from police to pull over.

Both ACT Police and NSW Police issued statements at about 2:10 this morning. The NSW Police statement is on their website however I’ll quote the ACT Police statement as it is more detailed. Sadly it (as usual) is not on their website yet.

Quadruple fatality, Narrabundah

ACT Policing is investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal traffic collision at Narrabundah this evening that has resulted in the death of three adults and an infant.

Initial investigations indicate that about 10pm (March 20), ACT Policing were advised that NSW Police were involved in a pursuit which has originated in Queanbeyan, NSW. The vehicle being pursued on Canberra Avenue by the officers was involved in a collision with another vehicle at the intersection of Canberra Avenue and the Monaro Highway exit ramp at Narrabundah, ACT. The offending vehicle collided with the second vehicle which was turning right onto Canberra Avenue, off the Monaro Hwy down ramp. The three occupants of the second vehicle, a male in his 30s, female also in her 30s and a male infant, died in the collision. The collision occurred after the pursuit was reportedly terminated by NSW Police.

The male driver and female passenger in the offending vehicle were transported to The Canberra Hospital, the male aged in his 20s, later died in hospital. The female remains in a critical condition.

Officers from ACT Policing’s Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Team are investigating the fatal traffic collision on behalf of the ACT Coroner, while ACT Policing and NSW Police are conducting a joint internal review of the circumstances surrounding the collision. The incident is considered a Critical Incident for both ACT Policing and NSW Police.

Tonight’s crash brings the 2010 ACT road toll to eight.

The intersection will remain closed for several hours while the scene reconstruction takes place.

Anyone with information which may be able to assist police with their investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers website on www.act.crimestoppers.com.au.

It’s interesting that the ACT press release says that NSW Police had pulled out of the pursuit, but doesn’t mention what ACT Police were doing at the time. I would assume that, as is normal procedure, NSW Police terminated the pursuit at the border and allowed ACT Police to take over. The NSW press release suggests that the pursuit was still in progress at the time of the crash:

The pursuit continued along Canberra Avenue into the ACT and at the intersection of Canberra Avenue and the Monaro Highway exit ramp at Narrabundah, the vehicle collided with a Mazda 3.

I’m sure that this will all be cleared up soon. Right now though, I’m just deeply saddened that an innocent family appears to have been killed by a driver who failed to comply with an instruction from police to pull over. The circumstances are tragic, and I have a heap of sympathy for the poor family involved and the police as well. I just hope that this doesn’t result in one of those stupid knee-jerk “let’s ban police pursuits” reactions that we keep seeing in New South Wales.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,General News

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5 Comments

  • 1. Cherie  |  March 21st, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Hi, Samuel I beg to differ on your statement, this is the second time a child has been killed the last being the little girl in Sydney after the same thing a Police Chase after robbers.. Being a Saturday night and Skyfire on the Police would of known that there would be traffic around and now an innocient young family is DEAD beacuse of what you say the Police where only doing their JOB..Sheer stupidity if you ask me. Nor did they catch the culprit but yet again the innocient are gone and the Police are still alive, So sad for the family that had to be told that they had lost loved ones in a senseless pursuit.

  • 2. Samuel  |  March 21st, 2010 at 10:11 am

    So what do you suggest the appropriate manner of handling pursuit situations is, Cherie? Do we just ban pursuits and effectively send the message that the flashing blue and red lights behind you can be ignored? Or do you have another suggestion about how we deal with this type of situation.

    I have to disagree with you about the police not catching the culprit. The driver who was being pursued by police is dead and his passenger is in a critical condition. Both of them are, in my view, guilty of running from the police. One paid the ultimate price and the other will be questioned by police.

    I’m very sorry that an innocent family lost their life, but this could have happened on any Saturday night or any other day or night for that matter.Skyfire may have been on last night, but this is Canberra. Unless it’s peak hour, there really isn’t ever much traffic on the road, Skyfire or no Skyfire.

    And it’s not just chases which create this type of road hazard. Police and other emergency services respond to priority incidents with their lights and siren at all times of the day and night. In the last week we have seen two accidents involving police vehicles. One here in the ACT where nobody was injured and one in New South Wales where police were treated for minor injuries and the occupant of the other car was not injured. Do we ban emergency services from their priority access to the roads and let more people die as a result of their inability to attend emergencies in a timely manner?

    I just don’t see how the police are at fault here (I’m sure you’d like to explain it to me though) when it was the other driver who broke the law and collided with an innocent family as a result. The driver should have stopped when directed and, as a result of not doing so, is in my view solely responsible for the crash and its tragic fatal consequences.

  • 3. jaselama  |  March 21st, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Sounds like Cherie wishes that the police died as well, and I qoute “Nor did they catch the culprit but yet again the innocient are gone and the Police are still alive”

    The only solid fact that we can determine from what the media has reported is that the car being pursued by police was STOLEN. Yes it is an absolute tragedy that a number of innocent people have lost their lives but the whole thing could have been avoided well before police intervention. If the driver DID NOT steal the vehicle this would not have happened. If the driver HAD pulled over when police directed them to this would not have happened.

    Its very easy easy to blame the police for incidents like this but lets not forget where it started. A person broke the law and ALL blame should be put upon his shoulders for the results of his actions.

    Cherie would not doubt be the first person to complain if she was the victim of crime and police did not act upon it.

    Lets face it the media love a “bash up police” article and the people in this world without the intelligence to realise that law and order are essential will always continue to look for someone other then the person who broke the law to blame.

    Cherie hang that head of yours in deep deep shame.

  • 4. luciferhead  |  March 21st, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Jaselama and Samuel – I agree 100% with your comments.

    Sadly, there are so many “if’s” and “why’s” with these sorts of tragedies. It’s is a case of wrong place, wrong time for that poor innocent family.

    The blame laying game frustrates me immensely. Why is the finger almost always immediately pointed at the police? It’s like the media (and people like you, Cherie, see it as the “big bad police and the poor innocent car thief?!”

    WHAT THE…?

    The guy stole a car and drove with total disregard for anything or anyone else. His bad decisions … are responsible for it, not the cops. He could have stopped at any time and faced the consequences of his actions.

    I suppose he paid with his life too… and if his passenger survives, she must live with what she has done for the rest of her life.

  • 5. tenthousandtattoos  |  March 24th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Samuel, I applaud you for being one of the few with the guts and common sense to say publicly that the idiot driving the stolen car was solely responsible for this tragic incident. And sadly your predictions of the “knee jerk reaction let’s ban police chases” argument is now in full swing.


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