Echuca police issue warning after 11 car crashes in four weeks

By Ivy Jensen

ELEVEN car crashes in four weeks. That is the alarming number of collisions we have had in Echuca.

That’s almost three a week.

And it doesn’t include the ones that went unreported.

The concerning rate of accidents has left police shaking their heads after warning motorists time and time again to pay attention on the roads.

“It’s frustrating,” Senior Constable Bren Lodi of Campaspe Highway Patrol said.

“It’s largely due to lack of attention and being careless on the roads.

“A vehicle is a two-tonne piece of machinery which can not only cause harm to themselves but to others on the road.”

While a crash on Ogilvie Ave on October 1 did not injure anyone, it blacked out more than 300 Echuca homes and businesses and threw our roads into utter chaos for hours.

It happened when a ute towing a trailer with a harvester crashed into a power pole at the corner of McKenzie St, snapping the concrete power pole off at the base.

“It caused major gridlock and businesses had to close due to the power outages,” Snr Constable Lodi said.

“Parents who were picking up their kids from school and child care were delayed so it had a real knock-on effect. It just threw the whole town into chaos.”

Two days later, a horrific collision occurred in Sturt St after a 56-year-old man ploughed his Mercedes into a parked truck outside The Pear Tree.

The Melbourne man was trapped in his car for about 45 minutes before being rescued and flown to The Alfred hospital where he remains in a serious condition with several fractures in his skull and spinal cord.

Early investigations indicate speed and alcohol may have contributed to the crash.

“It was a pretty horrendous crash, so he must have been going at some speed,” Snr Constable Lodi said.

“It’s lucky he didn’t harm anyone else.”

The corner of the Northern Hwy and Rose St was the scene of a collision on October 9, followed by the most recent crash two days later, on Friday, on Ogilvie Ave.

An 84-year-old man had to be taken to hospital with minor injuries after his car was hit from behind while he was entering his driveway.

A 40-year-old woman is assisting police with their inquiries.

Three people were lucky to escape injury on September 30 after a crash at the intersection of Hovell and Darling streets.

An Echuca man failed to give way and collided with the front of a vehicle driven by a Bendigo woman, who was with her two young sons.

Five days earlier, another collision occurred at the intersection of Ogilvie Ave and Crossen St after a Holden sedan ran a red light.

The car then attempted to turn into Crossen St before hitting a fence and a tree.

September 11 was a particularly bad day, with three crashes in less than five hours, and five cars having to be towed.

Two vehicles collided on the corner of Wallingford Court and the Murray Valley Hwy after a young man crossed double lines, followed by another two-vehicle collision at the intersection of McKinlay and Hume streets due to a motorist failing to give way.

A few hours later, a woman in her 70s collided with a semi-trailer, driven by a man in his 30s, on the corner of the Northern Hwy and Mitiamo-Echuca Rd.

Failing to give way was the cause of a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Heygarth and Hare streets the day before where a Toyota Yaris was extensively damaged.

That intersection was the scene of another collision between a motorbike and car October 8 directly after this one.

Failing to give way was the cause of a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Heygarth and Hare streets the day before where a Toyota Yaris was extensively damaged.

“Many of these have been cases of careless driving,” Snr Constable Lodi said.

“People need to slow down and be conscious of what they’re doing. Also, don’t drink and drive or take drugs.

“Drug driving is becoming more prevalent and we’re detecting quite a substantial amount.”

With the weather warming up and Christmas parties looming, the temptation to drink and drive is increased, Snr Constable Lodi said.

“Rethink your next drink,” he said.

“If you are going to drink, plan what you’re going to do at the end of the night. Use designated drivers, taxis or courtesy buses.

“We will be increasing our patrol times from now until Christmas so if you’re going to do the wrong thing on the roads, you will likely be caught.”