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.