17 DEAD IN 17 YEARS: Fight against killer road ramps up
TOMORROW a heartbroken family will farewell Leisa Purkis and her beautiful young daughter, Emerson.
The pair are the 16th and 17th people to have died in crashes along the deadly 44km stretch of Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd since 2001.
In the past five years, nine people have lost their lives. More than 40 people have also been seriously injured during this period.
With the South Kolan and Bundaberg communities still coming to terms with last week's horror double fatality, the RACQ and local MP Stephen Bennett are demanding action over the condition of the deadly road.
Mr Bennett wants to see a safety inquiry conducted, while the state's peak motoring body is calling on the state and federal governments to undertake key upgrades.
Lucinda Ross, an RACQ spokeswoman, said Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd was one of several roads leading to Bundaberg that had been identified as a medium to high crash risk in the latest Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) assessment, which, looked at crashes that caused serious injuries, hospitalisations or fatalities.
Bundaberg-Miriam Vale Rd, Isis Highway and Goodwood Rd also have a medium-high risk rating, according to this analysis.
"We're calling on the State and Federal Governments to get in and deliver low cost, high benefit treatments to make these roads safer," Ms Ross said.
She said executing safety precautions such as clearing roadside obstacles, installing safety barriers, implementing wide centre-line treatments and upgrading intersections would make a huge difference.
"These simple, yet highly effective, improvements would significantly reduce the risk and severity of crashes, boosting safety for road users," Ms Ross said.
Mr Bennett said he was more determined than ever to work towards keeping the road toll down.
"The statistics are horrific," he said.
"Any death on our roads is one too many.
"We want our families, friends and visitors to be safe."
He said further action needed to be taken to decrease the risk level on the road after last week's deaths.
"I'm conscious an investigation is still under way, but a safety inquiry, looking at the entire road, is still needed," Mr Bennett said.
South Kolan local Stephen Ratcliffe also aired his frustrations about the condition of Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd to the NewsMail last week, calling on the Department of Main Roads to address long-term safety issues.
In an initial response to road condition queries, the department had stated it conducted a routine inspection recently and had not found any sections requiring immediate action.
They said the same thing in a response to Mr Ratcliffe's concerns.
In response to the RACQ and Mr Bennett's call to action, a spokesperson said late yesterday that the department was "investigating potential improvements along Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd".
The spokesperson also said if any road factors were found to be involved in last week's double-fatality, the department would act to address them.
There were five deaths on Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd and at least 40 crashes that caused serious injuries or hospitalisation between 2013-2017, RACQ's latest AusRAP assessment revealed.
The fatal crashes on Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd since 2013:
Leisa and Emerson Purkis, November 5, 2018
The most recent deaths were that of South Kolan mother and daughter Leisa and Emerson Purkis, who were on their morning drive to school when their car collided with a truck on Monday last week.
Leisa, 46, died at the scene and Emerson, 12, was taken to hospital in a critical condition but died from her injuries later that day.
Leisa's son and Emerson's brother, Flynn, 15, and the driver of the truck escaped serious injuries.
An investigation into what caused the crash is still ongoing.
Patricia Levi and Kaylene Carter, January 22, 2018
Patricia Levi, a devoted 65-year-old grandma who was about to welcome another grandchild, drove Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd every day for 30 years.
Mrs Levi's car collided with a vehicle being driven by 58-year-old South Kolan woman Kaylene Carter. It was a horrific head-on crash that killed both of them.
James Robertson, November 21, 2015
Mundubbera man James "Jim" Robertson was described as being "as country as country comes".
He attempted to cross Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd after leaving the South Kolan Hotel when he was struck by a sedan, sustaining critical injuries.
He died at the scene.
Identity unknown, December 14, 2014
A 28-year-old man died after his car left the road and hit a tree.
Travis Herschell, May 27, 2014
Travis Herschell, 28, lost his life after his ute was struck by another car driving on the wrong side of the road.
Driver of the other vehicle, 19-year-old Dylan Jade Cooper was sentenced to 18 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
Since his death, an annual match between The Falcons and the Bundaberg West Barbarians emerged where they battle for the Travis Herschell Shield.
Fa'licia Brown, May 25, 2013
Fa'licia Brown, a learner driver who had only just been given her very own set of wheels, was on her way home from the Gin Gin markets with her dad when she drove too close to the road verge and lost control.
The car flipped and landed on its roof in the nearby gully. The impact trapped Fa'licia between the steering wheel and the roof of the car.
Her father fought tirelessly to release her as he watched the upturned car fill with water but tragically, Fa'licia drowned.
The NewsMail was unable to locate details on the ninth death.
Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd quick facts:
- 17 people have died on this road since 2001.
- Of those 17 people, nine have died in the past five years.
- Four of these deaths have happened this year involving the most recent double-fatality last week and another double-fatality in January.
- At least 40 people have been seriously injured or hospitalised on this road since 2013.
- The road is one of four roads with a medium-high risk level according to RACQ's data. Other roads with similar risk levels include Bundaberg Miriam Vale Rd, Isis Highway and Goodwood Rd.
- An estimated 3950 vehicles are driven across this road each day.