Top cop’s gut-wrenching plea to motorists
A SENIOR Coffs/Clarence police officer has spoken of the heavy toll that comes with attending accident after accident on local roads.
“Last Christmas and New Year I spent three out of four shifts standing on the side of the road with a dead person in the vehicle,” acting superintendent Brendan Gorman said.
“I was devastated.”
With the regional road toll at 12 in the lead up to the Christmas period, Mr Gorman wasn’t mincing words when he told of the pain bad behaviour on the roads was causing emergency services, families and the wider community.
The superintendent said the road safety message still wasn’t reaching everyone and at one point he had attended eight fatal accidents in just six months.
“Each crash is a decision of somebody to do the wrong thing,” he said
“People have got to listen because the behaviour on the road is destroying the community.
“Don’t be rushing, don’t use your mobile phone and don’t be drinking and driving.”
Since January, 198 people have been seriously injured or killed on Coffs Harbour roads and a vast majority – 145 – were from the local community.
While the number of fatal accidents was down on the same time last year, there had been a significant drop in traffic during April and May due to the coronavirus lockdowns.
However, Mr Gorman was adamant the situation was still the same as when he first came to the Coffs/Clarence command in January 2012.
“Within seven days I was standing beside the Pacific Highway with the death of Max McGregor at Urunga and since that time the behaviour has not changed.”
11-year-old Max died in his bedroom when a B-double truck careened into his bedroom after swerving to avoid a collision with a ute which had crossed onto the wrong side of the road.
The driver of the ute, Nambucca Heads man David Levett, also died at the scene.
Barely a week into his new role, it was up to a visibly shattered Supt. Gordon to update the public on terrible tragedy which had occurred.
There has been a spate of serious car accidents in recent weeks on regional roads, and alcohol was a factor in roughly 20 per cent of all serious incidents.
In October a 7-year-old girl was lucky to escape a horrendous wreckage after the car she was a passenger in left the road and rolled into a tree.
The 28-year-old driver of the Holden Commodore allegedly returned a positive breath test and was later charged with the string of driving offences.