Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Sam Flana­gan Sam.Flana­gan@dal­by­her­ald.com.au

A SLEEPY Western Downs com­mu­nity made state and na­tional head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons over the past two months. After five fa­tal­i­ties in four sep­a­rate crashes, Of­fi­cer in Charge of the Tara Po­lice Sta­tion, Greg Fin­u­cane has dis­closed the toll the in­ci­dents have taken on him, his team and the town. Fol­low­ing an­other fa­tal­ity seven days ago, the com­mu­nity is reel­ing. But Se­nior Sergeant Fin­u­cane knows there are brighter days ahead, be­liev­ing they’ve just got to stay strong and take more cau­tion when they get be­hind the wheel.

❝ We were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a fa­tal­ity and an­other bloke came driv­ing down the road and he was four times the le­gal limit.

— Se­nior Sergeant Greg Fin­u­cane

FIVE peo­ple have died on roads in the Tara re­gion in the past eight weeks, dev­as­tat­ing the close-knit com­mu­nity.

Now the town is putting its best foot for­ward.

Lead­ing the charge is Tara of­fi­cer-in-charge Se­nior Sergeant Greg Fin­u­cane, who said safety mes­sages needed to stick from here on out.

“It just comes down to inat­ten­tion from driv­ers. They’ve got to re­alise they need to drive ac­cord­ing to road con­di­tions,” Sen-Sgt Fin­u­cane said.

“The ma­jor­ity of crashes on Queens­land roads come down to the fa­tal five of speed­ing, drink driv­ing, fa­tigue, no seat­belts and dis­trac­tions like mo­bile phones.

“We’re in an area where peo­ple are trav­el­ling longer dis­tances and get a bit com­pla­cent and don’t con­cen­trate as much.”

Sen-Sgt Fin­u­cane has been in Tara a lit­tle longer than two years and said he had never ex­pe­ri­enced such a se­ri­ous string of in­ci­dents.

“We’ve had more crashes in the last two months than just the four with the fa­tal­i­ties,” he said.

“They’re called crashes for a rea­son, they’re not usu­ally ac­ci­dents. Crashes can be avoided.”

Sen-Sgt Fin­u­cane said the whole com­mu­nity had been af­fected, in­clud­ing the emer­gency ser­vices.

“A lot of the time it’s the same po­lice of­fi­cer, am­bu­lance of­fi­cer and fire­fight­ers that get called time and again to these jobs,” he said.

“It does af­fect you and ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent cop­ing mech­a­nisms.

“In gen­eral, emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel prob­a­bly don’t sleep as well that night.

“It’s one of those things you just have to re­mind your­self of that it’s part of your job.

“Be­ing a smaller com­mu­nity it’s got a broader reach, af­fect­ing peo­ple’s fam­ily and friends.

“Ev­ery­one knows some­one or has some sort of con­nec­tion to the peo­ple in­volved if they are lo­cal.

“The com­mu­nity peo­ple do sup­port each other here in town – there’s al­ways some­one there to talk to.”

Sen-Sgt Fin­u­cane said the po­lice couldn’t be ev­ery­where all the time and found it shat­ter­ing when their safety mes­sages fell on deaf ears. “It’s dis­ap­point­ing when you come across peo­ple do­ing ir­re­spon­si­ble things,” he said.

“It dis­ap­points you to think about all this work you’re do­ing and they still do it – we can only do so much.

“The other night we were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a fa­tal­ity and an­other bloke came driv­ing down the road and he was four times the le­gal limit.

“We’ve got school hol­i­days so we’re try­ing to urge peo­ple if they are not think­ing of them­selves, think of their loved ones.

“We’re just urg­ing peo­ple to take more cau­tion and con­sider the fa­tal five.”

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on road safety in Queens­land and tips on driv­ing, visit www.jointhedrive.qld.au.

CRASH SCENE: Two peo­ple were killed in a head-on crash on the Su­rat De­vel­op­men­tal Rd on Au­gust 14.


TIMELY RE­MINDER: Se­nior Sergeant Greg Fin­u­cane and his team want peo­ple to think about what they’re do­ing when they get be­hind the wheel.

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