Speed, grog in fa­tal crash

NT News - - FRONT PAGE - JU­DITH AISTHORPE Po­lice Re­porter

SPEED and al­co­hol are “def­i­nitely” fac­tors in the Ter­ri­tory’s worst fa­tal­ity in years.

Four peo­ple, two men and two women, lost their lives in the sin­gle ve­hi­cle rollover on Thurs­day night.

A 49-year-old Abo­rig­i­nal woman who was an oc­cu­pant of the Nissan X-Trail was found in­jured and walk­ing along the high­way yes­ter­day morn­ing.

She was taken to Pine Creek for treat­ment.

The crash oc­curred on the Kakadu Hwy with po­lice be­ing alerted at 8.15am.

One of the women who died was found alive at the scene but died while be­ing trans­ported to the health clinic at Jabiru.

NT Po­lice North­ern Com­mand Com­man­der Tony Fuller said al­co­hol and speed were fac­tors in the crash.

“Speed and al­co­hol was def­i­nitely a fac­tor and it’s rolled mul­ti­ple times,” he said.

“They’re (po­lice) pretty con­fi­dent that speed was a fac­tor, from what I un­der­stand it will be (cal­cu­lated by) how far the ve­hi­cle rolled into the bush. That will give them a fairly quick in­di­ca­tion that speed was a fac­tor.”

He said ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions had also in­di­cated the oc­cu­pants had been drink­ing prior to driv­ing.

They were last seen at the Mark River Road­house at 8.30pm on Thurs­day.

Com­man­der Fuller said it was a “hor­ri­ble day”.

“It’s a pretty hor­ri­ble day on the road for us,” he said.

“That takes our road toll up to 42 this year, com­pared to 23 last year. It’s a re­ally hor­rific road toll this year.”

Po­lice are ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses who may have seen the group of five or passed the crash site to con­tact po­lice.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent, a 69year-old man died af­ter a quad bike ac­ci­dent near Bor­roloola.

About 7pm on Tues­day the rider and a man, 20, on a mo­tor­bike, were re­turn­ing to Bor­roloola along the Wol­l­o­go­rang Hwy. The 69-year-old lost con­trol of the quad bike, which flipped and rolled on to him, knock­ing him un­con­scious for sev­eral min­utes.

He was taken to the lo­cal clinic, how­ever died.

A re­port is be­ing pre­pared for the coro­ner.

IT was an­other dark day in the Ter­ri­tory yes­ter­day with the loss of four lives in a sin­gle ve­hi­cle car crash in Kakadu. This is a tragedy at so many lev­els.

There is in­de­scrib­able heartache for fam­ily and friends who are left griev­ing to­day at the loss of their loved ones.

Last night, Ter­ri­tory po­lice were still try­ing to piece to­gether the cir­cum­stances be­hind the crash, but they too as first re­spon­ders are left to come to terms with the car­nage that greeted them at the scene.

At this stage speed and al­co­hol are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as the cause of the ac­ci­dent. Too of­ten this is the deadly com­bi­na­tion that tears fam­i­lies apart on our roads.

Time and time again po­lice give warn­ings about the dan­gers of get­ting be­hind the wheel of a car if you are in­tox­i­cated. And time and time again this warn­ing is ig­nored with tragic results.

With still al­most three months be­fore the year comes to an end, the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s road toll stands at an un­ac­cept­able 42 deaths. This is truly hor­rific. It is al­most twice what it was for the same time last year.

The NT News is not go­ing to call for tougher puni­tive ac­tion against mo­torists.

Our laws are tough enough and not all deaths are the re­sult of a deadly cock­tail of al­co­hol and for some peo­ple it doesn’t mat­ter how tough the laws are they will be ig­nored.

We de­s­pair at the road toll, as we do about the loss of four more Ter­ri­to­ri­ans.

We ap­peal to ev­ery­one to think first be­fore putting your life and more im­por­tantly the lives of oth­ers at risk by get­ting be­hind the wheel of your car when drunk.

Pic­ture: NINE NEWS

Four peo­ple died when this Nissan X-Trail crashed 80km from Pine Creek

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