Fatigue is believed to be the cause of an accident in Glenelg yesterday in which five pedestrians were seriously injured.
A four-wheel drive vehicle mounted the footpath, hitting a group of pedestrians waiting to cross Partridge Street at about 11.30am.
One person was thrown 5 metres while another was pinned between the vehicle's bullbar and a traffic light.
The driver was understood to have been celebrating his 27th birthday - which falls today - in the hours before the crash.
The dashboard of the man's vehicle was strewn with nightclub advertisements and empty caffeine energy drink bottles lay in the footwells.
Police said yesterday that it appeared that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Witnesses said that the vehicle did not appear to slow down or avoid the crowd, but crossed south over busy Jetty Rd and drove up on to the footpath. Witnesses - and police - said the late model Jeep was not speeding but may have travelled through a red light. The Major Crash Investigation Section yesterday ruled out alcohol as a cause of the crash but said driver fatigue* was being investigated. Police said that it was fortunate that no one was killed. "it would seem that way to me", said Senior Constable Keith Atkins, of Major Crash.
"At least one of those pedestrians has received quite serious injuries. It's my understanding that one of the pedestrians might have been pinned against it (the traffic pole)." He said. The five seriously hurt pedestrians were taken by ambulance to Flinders Medical Centre with injuries which included broken bones, cuts and internal injuries.
Two of the most seriously hurt - a 64 year-old woman with multiple broken bones and a 76 year-old man with internal injuries - were still in hospital last night in stable conditions. One other man, 42, was admitted after the crash but released late last night. Two more people were treated at the scene by SA Ambulance paramedics. Dozens of people watched in horror as the car drove from Gordon St to Partridge St and mounted the corner footpath with traffic lights - which stopped the vehicle hitting pedestrians.
Ross Rake, of Glengowrie, who saw the impact as he sat in his car with his daughter, Alyssa, said one woman was catapulted about 5m from the pedestrian crossing.
"It was unbelievable, very scary," he said. "The lights were red and the 4WD continued across Gordon St. It made no attempt to stop. There were a lot of people around and no warning, no nothing, people were just pushed everywhere," he said.
The uninjured driver, who police say was "distraught", was being interviewed and is likely to face charges over the accident.
© 2004 News Limited
Family members of a car crash victim, Sharon Maher, broke down yesterday with the news of another delay in the prosecution of the other driver. Mrs Maher and her 13 year-old son Daniel were killed in a head-on collision 18 months ago. Her eight-year old daughter Melinda was also seriously injured.
Mrs Maher, 31, was on her way to the Newcastle Show with her children that morning, just outside Clarence Town. Gary Maxwell Hugo, 51, was driving home from Bendolba near Dungog, from Sydney Airport with his wife Anne and his daughter. The agreed facts are that Hugo was driving on the wrong side of the road when he crashed into Mrs Maher's car as she came over the crest of a hill on Clarence Town Road.
It is alleged that Hugo pulled out over broken lines to overtake the car in front of him and then tried to overtake a second car. Once he had passed the first car he did not pull back in, travelling for about 100 metres on the wrong side of the road over unbroken lines, Newcastle District Court heard yesterday. Crown Prosecutor Gary Corr said evidence would show that Hugo had plenty of time and room to move back to the correct side of the road after passing the first car.
Mr Corr said two police officers questioned Hugo in hospital on the night of the accident and Hugo had said:
"I thought they were going slowly, and I thought that I could get around them". While Hugo has pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, he says he was not attempting to overtake when the collision occurred. Hugo told the court yesterday that after pulling out to overtake the first car, he dozed off or was in a state of semi-consciousness.
The matter has already twice been set down for a trial, with Hugo pleading guilty to the start of the second trial in June. The matter has now been adjourned to next week for the matter to be set down for a hearing in Sydney. Outside the court, Mrs Maher's mother, Mary McEvoy, said her other children had taken time off work to be in court to see the matter completed. This is unbelievable, "Mrs McEvoy said.
© 2004 Newcastle Newspapers Pty. Ltd
Teenager Daniel O'Neill was just 10 minutes from home when police believe that he fell asleep at the wheel before his car crashed, killing him instantly. The 17 year-old P-plate driver and his 16 year-old friend were heading home to Moss Vale when he crashed at Mittagong at 6:00am on Saturday morning, A steady stream of mourners arrived at the O'Neill house yesterday to off their condolences to his family.
A group of children returned to the crash scene on the Old Hume Highway yesterday afternoon. The Daily Telegraph spoke to a family friend who said that fatigue was the cause of the accident. "It wasn't excessive speed, just simple fatigue*. It was just a sad accident," the man, who did not wish to be named, said.
"Daniel was nature's nicest gentleman. He was one of the best blokes you could ever know. It's such a tragedy," he said. The 16 year-old passenger was released from Bowral Hospital yesterday after being treated for cuts and bruises.
© The Daily Telegraph, 31st October, 2004. Authors Gemma Jones, Evelyn Yamine.
A Melbourne coroner has delivered her findings in the case of a young boy who was run over by a driver with a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel.
Six year-old James Darien Radoslovich was killed when a car driven by a pensioner ran onto a footpath in May 2002.
James had been walking with his mother, who was severely injured.
The driver of the car, Joseph Patrick Moore, 74, had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel. Mr Moore had recently been tested for sleep apnoea and in a questionnaire had said he often dozed off while driving. His doctors did not look at the questionnaire.
Coroner Heather Spooner found that the doctors had not acted unreasonably, but noted that the questionnaire had fallen through cracks in the system, and recommended procedures for doctors to better share patient information.
The coroner also recommended that doctors highlight the grave dangers of driving with sleep apnoea.
© 2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
A YOUNG driver who killed a woman after partying all night and then falling asleep behind the wheel was yesterday fined a total of $1700. County Court Judge Liz Gaynor earlier ordered a jury to acquit Ashley Marriott, 21, of culpable driving causing the death of Kathryn Gemes and negligently causing serious injury to Mrs Gemes' husband, Arpad.
Outside the court, Mr Gemes expressed his disappointment with the judge's decision. "We, as a family, hold no grudges. But, as a family, we find the fact that it didn't get to the jury to decide a difficult pill to swallow," he said.
After hearing all the prosecution evidence, Judge Gaynor directed the jury to acquit Marriot on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.
Later, Marriott pleaded guilty to careless driving and driving an unroadworthy car. In sentencing him, Judge Gaynor told him that what he did on the day was dreadful and had horrifying consequences for the Gemes family, his family and himself. She convicted and fined him $1200 for careless driving and fined him $500 on the unroadworthy charge.
The jury heard this week Marriott, then 18, had little sleep before he drove from his house in Mildura to attend a Melbourne Cup eve rave party.
Marriott was awake all night at the rave party then drove to a relative's house in the outer eastern suburbs before heading back to the city about 11am on Cup Day. He had two passengers in the car. They were both asleep.
While driving on Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert, Marriot nodded off. His unroadworthy car veered on to the footpath and struck Mr and Mrs Gemes.
Mrs Gemes was killed and her husband suffered multiple broken bones. Marriott pleaded not guilty to culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury.
© 2004 News Limited
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