Wet chaos: five crashes, one death
WET weather has been blamed for a series of road crashes yesterday that left one person dead.
Traffic was blocked on a twisting section of the Nimbin Road at Coffee Camp for about five hours after a man was killed in a head-on collision shortly after 11am.
The crash was one of at least five across the region as motorists struggled with the rain.
Miraculously, people in other accidents at Lismore, Clunes, and another on the Nimbin Road were not seriously hurt.
Police yesterday said they were still trying to learn the identity of the man, believed to be aged in his 20s, killed when the red Subaru station wagon he was driving lost control and hit an oncoming white Toyota Landcruiser. The impact was so hard it tore the bull bar off the four-wheel-drive.
Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Nicole Bruce said the driver of the Landcruiser was not hurt, although badly shaken by the crash. He was taken to Lismore Base Hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.
There were no passengers in either car.
Insp Bruce said the Subaru was registered in a woman's name and the man who died had no identification on him.
The crash happened only a short time after another car lost control and slid off the road into a tree only a few hundred metres to the north. The driver of that car was not seriously hurt.
Lismore had two crashes in the wet weather, one in the morning in Casino Street and another at the junction of High Street and Barr Scott Drive about 3pm.
There was another serious crash on the Bangalow Road at Clunes yesterday afternoon, where a Holden station wagon rolled several times before landing on what was left of its wheels. The driver walked away, miraculously unhurt.
Insp Bruce said the run of crashes yesterday appeared linked to the rain. She was unable to confirm suggestions the Subaru in the fatal crash might have lost traction on oil on the road loosened by the weather.
She urged motorists to adjust their driving to suit the weather and condition of the road they were on.
“It's disappointing people are still losing their lives on the Nimbin Road,” she said.
That particular road was one motorists should treat with care ‘at the best of times' and with extreme caution when it was raining, she said.
The rain appears likely to continue for a while yet, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying Australia is drifting back into a La Niña period.
“It's looking more and more likely a La Niña event will happen after winter, which means there are higher than average chances it will be wetter than average,” a spokeswoman said.
She said that from July to September there would be a 50 to 60 per cent chance of increased rain.
“For the Northern Rivers, there is an 85 per cent chance of receiving more than 50mm, a 35 to 75 per cent chance of receiving more than 150mm, and a 15 to 25 per cent chance of receiving more than 250mm,” she said.
Between July to September, Lismore received an average of 175mm, Byron Bay an average of 267mm, Ballina an average of 271mm and on average 147mm at Casino.
She said Lismore yesterday recorded 3mm off rain, while Ballina airport recorded 2mm and Cape Byron got 1mm.