17 October 2022

Three dead after two-car collision in Whitlam

| Ian Bushnell
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Crash site

The accident scene after Fire and Rescue cut the victims free. Photo: ACT Policing.

Three people from one vehicle have died in a horror smash in Whitlam this afternoon, while a fourth is fighting for their life in hospital.

Police said a red Toyota hatchback and a white Toyota van collided on Coppins Crossing Road at about 2:45 pm just south of Hazel Hawke Avenue.

The three killed were adult passengers in the hatchback, while the driver of the hatchback and the driver of the van were taken to hospital.

Police said the driver of the hatchback was in a critical condition.

This brings the ACT road toll for the year to 17 after two recent fatal accidents.

Police at the scene of the accident at Coppins Crossing Road on 16 October 2022

Police at the scene of the accident at Coppins Crossing Road. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

ACT Fire and Rescue’s Superintendent Jim Walsh said his team was confronted with four people in the hatchback who had to be cut from the vehicle using the Jaws of Life equipment

“A number of them were pronounced deceased on the scene by ACT Ambulance Service,” he said.

Detective Superintendent Mick Calatzis said the accident was now the subject of an ongoing investigation and he would not speculate on the cause or circumstances of the accident.

But he urged Canberra drivers to slow down.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. We won’t speculate at this stage, but lower speed means that people are safer on the road,” he said.

“There’s 17 people this year that won’t be with their families. Our empathy goes out to them.

“I won’t speculate on speed, but it’s just common sense. Slow down, one or two minutes to get there later won’t hurt anybody. You need to come home alive to your families.”

Superintendent Walsh echoed that sentiment, saying accidents such as these significantly impacted police and rescue crews.

“Regrettably, the emergency services have had to attend another fatal accident on ACT roads this year,” he said.

“The impact that it has on all emergency service staff and attendees who attend these incidents is significant and ongoing. We will be supporting all our staff through a number of mechanisms to ensure their wellbeing is looked after.

“All we can do is support our ACT Policing message in that slowing down the extra one or two minutes that will take you to get to your destination safely removes all the trauma for families, friends and emergency service workers in these situations.”

Anyone who has dashcam footage or witnessed either of these vehicles in the area prior to 2:45 pm is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.

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Coppins Crossing is a very busy, poorly maintained piece of road that is frequently closed because of flooding.
The Molonglo River Bridge was originally supposed to have been started in 2020-21 and finished in 2024. The bridge should have been started when development started in Molonglo and finished before they even thought about developing Whitlam.
The traffic chaos just started in Civic with tram 2a is likely to make Coppins Crossing even more busy and then the plan is to disrupt traffic there by finally building the bridge.
Great job ACT Government.

Capital Retro7:42 am 17 Oct 22

I saw a police vehicle really speeding to this accident past lines of traffic. I could understand the “need for speed” if the incident involved an evolving life threatening situation but the accident had already happened.

So much for the police spokesman’s advice: “lower speed means that people are safer on the road”.

It did involve a life threatening situation. Two people were pulled from the wreckage alive. Every second counts in a big collision.

That police car may have been the first car deployed to the scene, before ACTFB and Ambulance.

Did it occur to you that the reason the police were “really speeding” was that, at that point in time, the number of casualties was unknown?

Capital Retro12:17 pm 17 Oct 22

It was reported that three of the passengers in the car were pronounced dead at the scene and they were late cut from the wreckage. Police do not have the equipment or resources that fire and rescue/ambulances have. I am sure motorists at the scene would have been able to assist at the same level the police could. I have been the first person at two motor accidents. The sole occupant at one accident was killed by the impact and I was able to drag out the injured driver through the rear window of the overturned car at the second accident. An off duty nurse then rendered assistance until the ambulance arrived.

I doubt they knew at the time of the call that there was any fatalities.

Also, your anecdote doesn’t add to your story. You helped someone, you want a cookie?

Capital Retro,
Why are you doubling down on your original comment when it’s so clearly a woeful take on the incident?

The police are far more able to assist in the case of a vehicle accident compared to general members of the public (if there even were members of the public around.)

Have a think about it, surely even you can work this one out.

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