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‘Carnage’: State’s alarming road toll

SYDNEY MURDER
Twenty-three people have died on Australia’s roads this Easter long weekend. Picture NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard.

The death toll on Australian roads has climbed again in the final hours of the Easter long weekend, with one state claiming more than a third of the fatalities.

Hundreds of thousands of drivers hit the nation’s roads on Monday to make the journey home after a weekend of visiting loved ones.

The toll has risen to eight in NSW, two in Queensland, three in South Australia, two in Victoria, five in Western Australia, one in Tasmania and two in the Northern Territory.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said the “tragedy about these deaths” was that they were “avoidable”.

Police conducted more than 32,000 breath tests for alcohol that resulted in 295 drivers being identified and charged with drink-driving-related matters.

NSW police give Easter weekend update. Picture: Nine
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said drivers shouldn’t undervalue human lives. Picture: Nine

More than 70,000 drug tests were conducted and 863 drivers were identified with illicit drugs in their system.

“These are all the contributing factors of the death and carnage that’s taking place on our roads every day,” Mr McFadden said.

He asked for the community to work with police to ensure everything was done to prevent more deaths on the nation’s roads.

“It is simply unacceptable to minimise it as an accident, to really undervalue human life. These are crashes, they’re collisions, drivers are responsible and accountable for the death and serious injury that they cause,” Mr McFadden said.

In northern Queensland, a 28-year-old Gladstone woman died after the car she was in was involved in an incident on the Bruce Highway, near Rockhampton about 5.15pm on Monday.

Investigators are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, has relevant vision or further information to contact police.

EASTER TRAFFIC GENERICS
The death toll on Australian roads this Easter long weekend claimed at least 21 lives. Picture NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Investigators are appealing to anyone who witnessed or filmed the incident to come forward.

Earlier that afternoon, an 83-year-old woman died after a collision in the NSW Central West.

About 4.15pm on Monday, emergency services responded to reports a sedan and a ute collided at the intersection of the Newell Highway and Ashburnham Rd in Daroobalgie, about 20km south of Parkes.

The 83-year-old male driver is fighting for life at Westmead Hospital.

The four occupants of the ute – aged 52, 58, 56 and 39 – were treated by paramedics and were taken to Forbes Hospital with minor injuries.

A motorcyclist crashed and died following a police pursuit in Sydney’s inner west on Monday afternoon.

The male rider, who is believed to be 29, allegedly failed to stop for an officer from Traffic and Highway Patrol about 2.30pm on Arthur St in Strathfield.

Assistant Commissioner Andrew Holland said the rider was travelling west on the M4 when police initiated a pursuit.

EASTER WEEKEND ROADS PRESSER
Mr McFadden urged drivers to take care. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard

Shortly after, the motorcycle hit a white Toyota Corolla while attempting to overtake the car.

The rider then lost control and hit a power pole.

Officers treated the male rider until paramedics arrived, however he died at the scene.

The man is believed to be of Indigenous descent, but police have not been able to formally identify him.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to contact his next of kin so we are not able to confirm his identity at this point,” Mr Holland said.

An investigation into the incident has been launched by the Critical Incident Investigation Team and will be subject to an independent review.

Earlier on Monday, a 61-year-old man died in a head-on collision with a small truck in Tasmania’s north.

Emergency services rushed to the Bass Highway at Exton, near Deloraine, about 7.25am on Monday.

In Queensland, a 25-year-old man has been charged with multiple offences, including dangerous driving causing death, after the Ford Escape he was driving allegedly struck a Mitsubishi Mirage on the Fraser Coast, killing a 39-year-old woman.

WESTGATE CONGESTION
Two deaths occurred in NSW and QLD on Easter Monday afternoon. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

Emergency services rushed to Booral Rd in Sunshine Acres about 10.15pm on Sunday, where they found the woman dead at the scene.

Police will allege the car had been stolen outside a charity organisation between March 28 and March 31, and have also alleged the man was driving while “adversely affected by an intoxicating substance while excessively speeding,” drove unlicensed, and was in possession of drugs at the time of the arrest.

“The deceased in this instance was a nurse, a mother, and a wife, and the incident has devastated that family and the broader parts of the community,” Detective Inspector Wade Lee said in an address to the media on Monday.

The 25-year-old is in hospital before he is set to appear at Harvey Bay Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Inspector Lee described the incident as “horrific”, with an examination revealing it appeared one car went onto the wrong side of the road into the path of the other car.

“It was a horrific scene. Both vehicles are totalled. Both vehicles have substantial damage on the drivers side of the vehicles,” Inspector Lee said.

“Up until this incident, Queensland was a fatality-free state on the roads this Easter period, so it really is a tragic set of circumstances.”