11 April 2023

Two Easter Saturday crash victims discharged from hospital; police long weekend operation ends

| Claire Fenwicke
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Gungahlin Drive crash on Easter Saturday

Three people were seriously injured following a crash on Easter Saturday on Gungahlin Drive. Photo: ACT Policing.

A man and woman have been released from hospital while another man remains in critical condition following a two-vehicle crash over the Easter long weekend.

ACT Policing confirmed the female driver and male passenger from the northbound vehicle were discharged on Tuesday (11 April), while the male driver of the southbound vehicle was still receiving treatment.

Road Policing Sergeant Travis Mills said the investigation into the collision’s circumstances was ongoing.

“We just need to encourage people to drive to the conditions, abide by the road rules and get home safely,” he said.

“If there are members of the community that either witnessed the collision and have not spoken to police, or immediately prior to the collision witnessed the vehicles travelling, please contact Crime Stoppers.”

He declined to comment on whether charges were expected to be laid, given the investigation was “still in its infancy”.

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It comes as ACT Policing wrapped up its long weekend operation, which saw almost 2500 random breath tests and about 22 roadside drug tests conducted on Canberra’s roads.

Five drink drivers and two drug-impaired drivers were detected as a result.

“Any impaired drivers on our roads not only pose a risk to those operating the vehicles, but they also pose a risk to other members of the community,” Sgt Mills said.

“We’d like to have all motorists operate their vehicles unimpaired so they can make sound judgements and consider other road users.

“If you take drugs, if you consume alcohol, have a Plan B, don’t get behind the wheel of a car or on a motorcycle or any other form of transport and operate it.”

About 320 fines were handed out over the four-day period, including 117 for speeding.

Fifty drivers were fined for driving unregistered vehicles – 27 of which were also uninsured.

Sgt Mills said in the wake of the Gungahlin Drive crash, and a collision that killed four people on the Barton Highway on Good Friday, as a society, we “need to take stock”.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to ensure that we just drive safely [to] avoid road trauma,” he said.

“Road trauma is terrible. It’s far-reaching. It has a knock-on effect not only to those immediately involved but to our first responders, to our medical staff in the emergency departments, to witnesses first on scene.

“Just take a moment and consider how your actions could possibly affect those around you and others.”

Two people from the Barton Highway crash have been identified as a Yass couple, but NSW Police declined to comment further on where the other people involved were from.

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Across Southern NSW, 1187 speeding infringements were issued, with 41 major crashes recorded over the Easter long weekend.

Almost 29,800 breath tests were conducted across the region with 43 drink drivers detected.

One incident of note involved a black Honda sedan stopped on the Monaro Highway at Chakola, north of Cooma, after it was detected travelling 173 km/h in a 100 km/h zone just before 6:30 am on Friday (7 April).

NSW Police said the 31-year-old male driver gave officers an international drivers licence, which was suspended indefinitely.

The man’s been issued a field court attendance notice for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 km/h and driving dangerously. He is scheduled to appear in Cooma Local Court on 17 May.

NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman, said just because the long weekend campaign had ended didn’t mean the responsibility of motorists had as well.

“It seems as though people just continue to drive recklessly on our roads under the false impression that they are safe from any road trauma,” he said.

“Anytime someone gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or hops on a motorcycle, they need to accept responsibility to do everything they can to keep themselves, their passengers and other road users safe.

“Police can only do so much, which means we really need those road users to take that message and that responsibility seriously.”

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As people drive their cars so often without incident, they diminish the risks in their minds.

You’re at much higher risk of injury or death in a car than a plane or boat or even a balloon, yet many people who fear plane travel dismiss the possibility of road trauma because they drive their car all the time. That actually increases the risks rather than reducing them.

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