Long weekend marred by crashes

By Matteo Gagliardi and Laura Tilley

DRIVERS were fortunate to escape injury in two separate incidents locally, both within an hour of each other on Friday afternoon, to begin an accident-ridden Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

In the first incident, paramedics, police and Concordia Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteers attended a two-car collision on Barossa Valley Way, in Concordia, at around 2pm, involving two cars travelling in separate directions down the road.

An elderly woman was treated for shock at the scene, but didn’t sustain any injuries.

In the second incident, a man lost control of his utility vehicle travelling north along
the Sturt Highway, near Shea-Oak Log, just after 3pm, and rolled his car on the side of the road.

Police at the scene said the man struck the barrier on the left-hand side of the highway, just south of Daveyston Road, when he lost control and went skidding into the ditch adjacent the road.

The ute became airborne before flipping over the fence of an adjacent paddock, before coming to rest on its side.

Shea-Oak Log CFS and paramedics also attended the scene, but the man also escaped injury.

Police said the incidents were a reminder for motorists to pay attention to the conditions on the road.

Roseworthy driver arrested

A 32-YEAR-OLD Kapunda man has fronted court after allegedly causing a head-on crash at Roseworthy which injured his two young children, one critically, on Saturday.

Luke Stephen Falkiner, 32, appeared in Adelaide Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, facing three counts of aggravated causing serious harm by dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

Falkiner’s four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son were in his Commodore sedan when it collided with a Holden Captiva, head-on, on the Thiele Highway, near Argent Road, just before 9pm on Saturday.

Police and emergency services were immediately called to the scene, and the children were rushed to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where they remain.

The girl suffered critical injuries, while the boy only received minor injuries.

The driver of the Captiva, a 48-year-old Marrabel woman, was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with serious injuries.

Falkiner was taken to the Lyell McEwin Hospital with serious injuries and was discharged on Sunday, before being arrested and charged later that day.

He has been remanded in custody to appear in court again this Monday, June 19.

Gawler police Senior Sergeant Brenton ‘Lou’ Costello said the incident was the worst crash in the state over the long weekend.

“It’s distressing when an incident involves kids,” he said.

“It’s difficult to deal with a situation like that, especially when the attending officers are parents as well.”

Anyone who witnessed the collision, or saw the blue 2010 Commodore sedan on the Thiele Highway before the crash, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000 or at crimestopperssa.com.au).

…But, overall, drivers receive pass mark

GAWLER police have praised the behaviour of drivers on local roads over the June long weekend, despite being called to several crashes in the region.

Local police officers’ hopes of keeping the region accident-free over the weekend were dashed when they attended a head-on crash on the Thiele Highway, near Roseworthy, along with another minor car roll-over, near Nuriootpa.

Despite the two incidents, Gawler Senior Sergeant Brenton ‘Lou’ Costello was pleased with motorists’ behaviour, with the number of traffic-related detections on par with previous weekends.

He said extra police were out in force, patrolling rural roads and conducting random breath tests, as part of the statewide Operation Safe Long Weekend driver crackdown.

“Overall, I believe behaviour on local roads was reasonably good,” Senior Sergeant Costello said.

“We had a very proactive, high visible presence on the highway and rural roads because of the amount of traffic leaving and entering the city on the weekend.

“There were other detections we made in relation to speed and general traffic, but no more than what we normally have on a standard weekend.

“From Gawler’s perspective, it was certainly on par with previous June long weekends.

“(But) it only takes a lapse in concentration, someone exceeding the speed limit or doing something they shouldn’t, to end up in quite a nasty crash, like we saw on the Thiele Highway.

“That was the most significant event for us on the weekend.”

The last fatality-free June long weekend was 13 years ago, in 2004, while nine people have died over the four-day period in the past five years alone.

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