5 DEAD IN 8 WEEKS
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.