PLEA: Police speak out after 20th fatal in one district
IT HAS been a tragic end to the year on our roads, as police confirmed the death of a woman in the passenger seat of a car that left the road and crashed into a tree on the Pacific Highway north of Coffs Harbour.
The death brings the number of road fatalities within the Coffs/Clarence region for the year to 20, and speaking to media after yesterday's fatality, Chief Inspector Brendan Gorman said it was tragic to see another person die on local roads.
"It is disappointing … we spoke long and hard about this in October," he said.
"We put a lot of plans in place and have done a lot of work to try and prevent any more deaths on our local roads, but unfortunately we have had another death.
"That makes it 20 (deaths) for the year within the Coffs/Clarence police district."
The incident occurred just after 3.45pm when police were called to reports that a car had left the road and hit a tree near Moonee, north of Coffs Harbour.
When police arrived, the front-seat passenger had died and the driver of the vehicle and two children were still in the car.
They were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Crime scene and crash scene investigators examined the scene, before the car was removed from the roadside gully at about 5am yesterday.
Chief Inspector Gorman said police were looking for any witnesses, or anyone with dashcam footage to contact Coffs/Clarence police or Crimestoppers.
He said at this stage it was believed the deceased person was not local
It was the second incident for the day, after the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter attended a motorcycle crash on the Armidale Road at Nymboida.
A female rider had suffered injuries in the incident and was transported to Gold Coast University Hospital in an unknown condition.
In October, after three fatal crashes in quick succession, Coffs/Clarence police urged people to take care on the roads to try to stop the carnage.
"Of the (then) 19 deaths so far in this police district I believe 16 were local people,," Inspector Gorman said.
"They are dying within sight of their homes.
"We need you as a community to start talking about this.
"We need you to respond. We cannot continue this.
"I started in the police in 1991 this is the worst I've seen it since the early '90s."
Mr Gorman said that the incidents not only devastated the families involved, but had a lasting affect on first responders.
"This is devastating for them - 20 deaths in a 12-month period on top of last year's and planning for next year," he said.
"You can't count what it does to people. It just eats them away."
Mr Gorman again made a plea for drivers to heed police advice, but he said sometimes people weren't listening.
"Give a reasonable gap to the vehicle in front. Don't touch your mobile phone. Look at the speed limit. Adjust the speed to the conditions of the road," he said.
"At the moment we have a large amount of vehicles on holidays.
"Give yourself extra time, and take the extra time."