Collie in fear over rising road toll

Families and communities are reeling once again after five people and an unborn baby died in a tragic four days on the State's roads this week.

As the Wheatbelt town of Corrigin mourns the deaths of 19-year-old Shona Caley and her unborn daughter, the grief of losing a loved one in a road crash is probably felt nowhere as much as the South West town of Collie.

Collie has been devastated by at least 22 road deaths in the past 15 years and its 9000 residents live in fear of yet another fatality.

"Your whole life changes," Geoff Lee said. "I don't think, unless you've been in that situation, you can even imagine the devastation it has on a family." Mr Lee's son Michael died in October 2010 when his utility hit a 25m-long trailer used to carry poles on the main highway through Collie.

The apprentice electrician had celebrated his 21st birthday a couple of weeks earlier.

Mr Lee said his son simply did not see the dark green pole-type trailer, which was empty at the time, because it was so hard to distinguish from the surroundings in the oncoming sunlight that day.

Mr Lee has urged the State Government and trucking companies to put reflector strips and a flashing light on pole-type trailers.

Michael's death shattered his father, mother Vicki and his twin sister Tiffany.

Three days later, the close-knit community was rocked again when Michael's former classmate Jenna Moyses was killed further along the Coalfields Highway. It had been a wet day when the car carrying Ms Moyses, 21, left the highway and hit a tree.

Brittany Fallows said the grief of her cousin's death was still raw almost 3½ years later.

"It's just devastating," she said. "I don't think you ever move on from something like this."

Ms Fallows said Ms Moyses' death was even more devastating because it came only six months after her partner Daniel Sochacki's cousin Jamie Welhan died in a motorbike crash in Collie.

Ms Moyses died on a notorious stretch of highway from Bunbury to Collie, which snakes through Wellington National Park and has claimed three lives and been the scene of numerous crashes in recent years.

Across the road from where Ms Moyses died, a white cross marks the spot where Worsley Alcoa security guard Kevin Singh lost his life in May 2010.

Six people died on Coalfields Highway in a horror seven months in 2010, including siblings Kynan, 6, and Temilee Mears, 2, who died when their mother's car collided with the back of a truck.

A few metres further up the road, a white cross stands in memory of Clayton Davidson, who was 16 when he died in a crash as a passenger in a V8 Holden Commodore in 2002. Clayton was one of seven young people from Collie who died in road crashes between 1999 and 2006.

Collie shire president Wayne Sanford said a death on the roads cast sadness over the whole community.

Last year, the State Government pledged to spend $28 million on Coalfields Highway in its second term.

Some repairs have been done but the community questions why the worst stretches of the highway are yet to be improved.

The West Australian

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