Lucky escape for out-of-town driver

April 11, 2018

Michael Dash had a car accident after failing to give way at the intersection of McKinlay and Sutton streets.

A COUPLE want to see a traffic island installed at a notorious Echuca intersection after one of them collided with another car there last month.

Michael Dash, 79, was driving along McKinlay St when he didn’t realise he had to give way at the Sutton St intersection and crashed into a ute on March 13.

His wife Clare Bennett was nearby at her mother’s house in Sutton St and heard the crash.

‘‘My mother said ‘not another one’ because it’s such a notorious intersection,’’ she said.

‘‘We went out to have a look and I remember thinking ‘It’s Michael’. It was a strange feeling.’’

The man Michael hit walked away from the crash unhurt, but Michael was taken to Echuca hospital with a head injury and his car was a write-off.

After spending eight hours in emergency in a neck brace, Michael was kept overnight because of the possibility he had injured his C1 and C2 vertebrae.

Fortunately an MRI the next day revealed he was okay and he was discharged.

‘‘He suffered some facial fractures and has some ongoing dizziness,’’ Clare said.

The Leopold couple are not shying away from the fact the accident was Michael’s fault, but they say better infrastructure should be built at such an accident-prone intersection.

‘‘You have right of way all along McKinlay St until you hit Sutton St, so it’s quite easy to think you still have priority and not see the give way sign,’’ Clare said.

‘‘But only a block apart at the McKinlay and Darling St intersection, there is a traffic island and more signage.

‘‘Why doesn’t the McKinlay and Sutton St intersection have the same infrastructure? Sutton St seems a very busy road with very big trucks and McKinlay St is a priority road until it hits Sutton St.’’

According to police, there have been two reported accidents at the intersection in the past five years — the one last month and another in February 2016.

Campaspe Shire assets manager Richard Conway said there had been no serious or fatal accidents at the intersection in the same period.

‘‘If police attend a road accident, even minor accidents, and have concerns with road related infrastructure they report to council,’’ he said.

Mr Conway encouraged the couple to make contact with council to explain the circumstances of the crash.

‘‘Our staff can then consider if the intersection could benefit with additional road infrastructure, or if there were other factors outside the road infrastructure that may have contributed to the crash,’’ he said.

Clare and Michael believe better infrastructure at the intersection would help prevent further accidents.

‘‘People just presume they still have right of way and drive through like Michael did,’’ Clare said.

‘‘He was just incredibly fortunate that it wasn’t a huge truck coming the other way and that the young man wasn’t injured.’’

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