Death sparks highway plea

THE Foster community is calling for safety improvements at the intersection where an elderly couple was killed in a collision between two cars last Tuesday, August 21.

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the crash at the intersection of O’Gradys Ridge Road and South Gippsland Highway at Foster North.

Foster State Emergency Service unit controller Rachael Nicolson said, “Many locals will be familiar with this intersection and will likely agree that it can be dangerous if not approached with caution as you are either turning from or onto a busy highway.”

O’Gradys Ridge Road resident Linda Giddy said the intersection is dangerous and warrants attention. The deceased couple had been staying at her bed and breakfast.

“It is very easy to miss any vehicle travelling at speed when you are pulling out from O’Gradys Ridge Road. Cars travelling at 100km/h can be on you very quickly,” she said.

“I don’t know what can be done about it, other than perhaps reducing the speed limit at that particular intersection. I suspect people living on this road would be concerned.”

Mrs Giddy said the intersection had a short line of sight, with highway traffic approaching the intersection at highway speeds.

“It’s hard to assess the intersection properly unless you stop. I can really see how such a tragedy can eventuate and I have had a close call at that intersection myself in similar conditions to those on Tuesday,” she said.

“You might have a truck lumbering up the hill but then you have a lot of cars speeding as they pass it.”

Either side of the intersection, the highway has overtaking lanes, and the road intersects with the highway near a crest.

Another O’Gradys Ridge Road resident, Michael Lester, had a scare at that intersection just a few days before the crash.

“I looked right, left, right again and started to pull out but a car appeared rapidly and I had to brake hard. It’s hard to describe but in the split second from looking right and looking forward to pull out, the car approached so rapidly. I was nearly done for. Can’t imagine how you fix that though,” he said.

VicRoads reported no recorded crashes at the intersection in the past five years.

VicRoads eastern region director Scott Lawrence said, “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.

“Safety is always our first priority and we will work closely with Victoria Police to understand the factors surrounding this collision.”

VicRoads engineers and police have inspected the scene of the fatality to discuss possible safety improvements to the intersection.

Police believe the driver of a Toyota Yaris, an 86 year old Brighton woman, was exiting O’Gradys Ridge Road, with the intention of turning right onto the highway, when her vehicle collided with a west-bound Holden sedan.

Her husband was a passenger. The 93 year old Brighton man died in the Royal Melbourne Hospital after he was airlifted there, while his wife died on the way to hospital.

The driver of the Holden sedan, a 71 year old man from Binginwarri, sustained minor injuries in the crash, including a blood nose and welts on his arm due to an airbag being released.

He was taken to South Gippsland Hospital at Foster and later released.

Senior Sergeant Jason Hullick, eastern region road policing advisor, praised the man for trying to assist the elderly couple at the scene.

“Unfortunately he could not do too much for them and he is absolutely shaken up,” he said.

“We just think that unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the female driver has not seen the car coming.”

The collision occurred just before 10.30am and the highway was shut for five hours while traffic was diverted around the scene via Fish Creek. Traffic was permitted through some of the time.

Police from Foster, Bass Coast Highway Patrol, Meeniyan, Mirboo North and Wonthaggi attended, along with fire brigades and ambulances.

Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Fatal scene: Linda and Larry Giddy at the scene of the double fatality last week, at the intersection of South Gippsland Highway and O’Gradys Ridge Road, Foster North. The Giddys live on O’Gradys Ridge Road.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25723

Posted by on Aug 28 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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