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Mother and daughter killed in crash with an ambulance

COFFS Harbour Bishop Druitt College HSC student Rachel Erlandsen and her mother Dixie, the president of the Urunga Football Club, have been identified as the victims of the double fatality at Valla on Friday.

There has been an outpouring of support for the Erlandsen family across the Coffs Coast with many tributes posted by friends and family on social media. 

Bishop Druitt College principal Alan Ball broke the news to students and parents of the school. 

"There is a desperate sadness about this tragedy," Mr Ball wrote to the school community. 

"Dave Halverson Dixie's partner, Rachel's father Peter, her siblings Jess and Andrew, Rachel's friends from Year 12, Jess' friends in Year 8, and the staff who taught and worked closely with Rachel at BDC are devastated by this news.

"We will do everything we can do to support the Erlandsen family and Dixie's partner Dave Halverson.

He said the school would stage a special assembly on Monday morning and counsellors and chaplains would console grieving students.

The North Coast Football fraternity is in mourning following the tragedy.

"With much sorrow we advise the passing of our beloved President, Dixie Erlandsen and her daughter Rachel," the Urunga Football Club advised members.

Commenting on the tragedy, Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said: "A beautiful girl, just finished her HSC, well respected and admired by her peers, she worked hard at her HSC and it's just so sad.  

"There cannot be any more distressing incidents like the tragedy on Friday.

Ms Pavey is demanding that Roads and Maritime Services and the State Government add additional safety improvements to the Valla Beach Pacific Highway blackspot.   

"Action must be taken now to remove the scope for errors-of-judgement to be fatal," Ms Pavey said.  

She said she had spoken to the RMS about better warning signs, brighter line markings, separating the traffic lanes where possible and lowering speed limits at the Valla Beach intersection while the upgrade to dual carriageway progresses. 

UPDATE: Saturday - 8.30PM: 

Police continue to investigate following a fatal collision near Valla on the state's Mid-North Coast yesterday.

About 5pm on Friday, emergency services were called to the Pacific Highway near Valla Beach Road after reports of a collision between an ambulance and a small car.

The driver of the Nissan Pulsar, a 17-year-old girl, and the front passenger her 50-year-old mother from Valla, died at the location.

The ambulance contained two ambulance paramedics, a doctor and a nurse who were taken to hospital for treatment.

One paramedic is in a stable condition, with non life threatening injuries.

The other has since been discharged from hospital.

The doctor and nurse have also been released from hospital.

The Pacific Highway was closed, but has since re-opened.

Mid North Coast Crash Investigation Unit attended and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the collision.

UPDATE: FRIDAY - 7.30PM:

 NSW Ambulance Commissioner David Dutton said the doctor, nurse and two paramedics who were inside the ambulance involved in tonight's double fatality, tried to save the lives of the two females who died in the crash. 

The two females were travelling in a small car that became involved in a crash with the southbound ambulance on the Pacific Hwy at the Valla Beach Rd turn-off. 

"Tragically the two people travelling in the other vehicle were killed in the collision despite the immediate efforts of the medical team involved in the collision to save their lives," Commissioner Dutton said. 

"The medical team escaped serious injury in the collision, however are being transported to hospital for assessment and treatment of their injuries. 

"NSW Ambulance extends its sincere sympathies to the loved ones of those killed in the crash and is providing support to the staff involved. 

Police road scene crash investigators are working to establish what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.

Diversions around the scene remain in place tonight. 

UPDATE: FRIDAY - 6.40PM:

STOP/GO measures are now in place on the Pacific Highway at Valla after a serious accident.

Significant delays are still being experienced and motorists are advised to delay their trips or use the Summerland Way or New England Highway.

UPDATE: FRIDAY - 6.30PM: 

TWO people have died after a car crashed with an ambulance on the Pacific Hwy near Valla. 

Emergency services were called to the Valla Beach Rd turn-off after reports of a collision about 5pm.

Police have confirmed that two females travelling in the car died at the scene.

Their ages are not known at this time.

Police said the ambulance contained two paramedics, a doctor and a nurse.

All those on board the ambulance were assessed on site by NSW Ambulance Paramedics.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

DIVERSIONS are in place with the Pacific Highway closed in both directions in Valla due to a serious accident near Valla Beach Road.

Motorists are advised to delay their trip as no diversion is available.

Emergency services and traffic crews are on site.

Northbound motorists needing to travel can use the New England Highway and southbound motorists can use the Bruxner Highway, however, both alternative routes will add considerable time to journeys.

The Pacific Highway is expected to remain closed for some time.

For the latest traffic information, visit http://www.livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

Topics:  accident, diversions, editors picks, highway, valla




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