By Derek Schlennstedt
Police believe that a crash at Strawberry Corner along Belgrave-Gembrook Road, between Avonsleigh and Cockatoo may have been caused by environmental factors.
On 12 October, around 5pm a ute carrying a trailer with a scissorlift on it collided with a van travelling in the opposite direction, and Emerald Police sergeant David Calkin described the crash as a “head-on collision”.
“Somehow, whether by mechanical failure or environmental such as the camber of the road, the trailer has broken away from the vehicle towing it and collided with a van that was Cockatoo bound,” Sgt Calkin said.
“On that bend there is a quite a strong camber but once you go over the white line on the side, there is an extreme camber which may have upset the trailer.”
The driver of the van, a male in his seventies was taken to Dandenong Hospital for chest and shoulder injuries.
The crash comes months after a fatality on the same stretch of road, and calls have been made from local community members in Cockatoo to construct barriers.
In August Gerald Shaddock, spokesman for the Cockatoo Road Action Group (CRAG21), said that parts of Belgrave-Gembrook Road had steep inclines and no barriers to prevent drivers from going over the edge.
If no action was taken, there would continue to be accidents along the road, Mr Shaddock said, a message which Sgt Calkin also echoed.
“It will just keep happening,” Sgt Calkin said.
“This section of the Belgrave-Gembrook Road is quite heavily trafficked and has a poor safety history,” Mr Shaddock said.
Though evidence suggests attributing the recent crash to the camber of the road, Sgt Calkin reiterated that it was a dangerous section of road and that road users needed to drive to the conditions.
He also noted that in the Dandenong Ranges, after periods of rain the roads could become slick due to the residue from gumtrees.
“Police have checked the towing weight, all within tolerances … there’s nothing to indicate the driver has broken the law,” Sgt Calkin said.
“This time of the year we have dry periods and then occasional rain which makes the road conditions very slippery … you have to drive to the conditions and the speed limit is the maximum speed you have to do.”