POLICE are still investigating the circumstances surrounding a life-threatening incident on the South Gippsland Highway, east of Loch last Saturday evening, in which a Nissan Patrol and a police car collided almost head-on.
The crash took place on the bridge over Allsop Creek and the old railway reserve, 500 metres past the Poowong-Loch Road intersection, causing a police car to crash into the bridge, barely stopping it from toppling over into a deep ravine.
Police at the scene of the accident said the exact cause of the collision is not yet confirmed.
But Sergeant Ian Bruhn of the Bass Coast Highway Patrol said it was clear the Nissan Patrol, being driven east towards Korumburra by a 54 year old Foster man, veered across double lines into the path of the on-coming police car, travelling in the direction of Loch.
“He’s careered across double lines in front of the police car which had nowhere to go,” Sgt Bruhn said.
“There was one officer in the car, a local member from Loch, who has sustained what we understand are minor leg injuries.
“He’s been very lucky in that sense,” he said.
Sgt Bruhn said the driver of the Nissan Patrol, who was also the only occupant in that car, also sustained leg injuries and possible spinal injuries.
He was airlifted to hospital.
Sgt Bruhn said there was no indication that either alcohol or drugs was involved but he indicated that distraction or fatigue may have been possible causes.
“We’re still investigating that,” he said.
The accident scene was a mess with debris from the cars strewn along the bridge and roadway.
The two cars appear to have collided on their front driver’s side, the impact causing both cars to lose their front driver’s side wheels. The extensively damaged Nissan has come to rest on the wrong side of the road, while the Ford Territory police car has continued on after the crash and hit the bridge.
Here it has dislodged the top steel rail and bent the bottom rail, finally coming to rest on the concrete post in the middle of the bridge.
Both cars were extensively damaged, likely to be write-offs.
A significant number of police officers turned out at the scene to take control of the highway on the busy long weekend but also, no doubt, to support the local member.
Ambulance, CFA Road Accident Rescue and tow trucks attended the scene of the accident which is believed to have taken place at around 5.20pm.
A single lane of the South Gippsland Highway remained open while emergency crews did their work, while investigations were carried out and while the vehicles were salvaged and the scene cleared.
Police car had ‘nowhere to go’