Teen dies in Hunter Valley car smash

Date: Mar 20, 2012

A crash to the south of Branxton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales has seen one teenager die and an older man taken to hospital for medical testing.

Police say that the fatal car accident took place at about 12:00 on March 18 on Wine Country Drive in North Rothbury and involved a Hyundai Excel and a Toyota Landcruiser.

Emergency services were called to the site shortly after the initial impact, only to find that the driver of the Hyundai – an 18-year-old man – had died of his injuries.

The 41-year-old male river of the Landcruiser was not injured during the collision, but was taken to a nearby hospital in order to undergo blood and urine testing – a mandatory sequence in the event of a roadway fatality.

Officers from the Hunter Valley Local Area Command closed off the roadway for more than five hours to allow the authorities the space to work on retrieving the body of the deceased.

Members of the Newcastle Crash Investigation Unit then established a crime scene at the site and began combing the area for signs of environmental factors that may have contributed to the collision.

Details of the incident are hard to come by and no official word has been put forward by authorities on how the crash came to occur.

It has been noted that the particular roadway in question – Wine Country Drive – has been the site of a number of serious motor vehicle collisions in recent time, with five major accidents in the last 18 months, one of which was fatal.

Stretching between the communities of Branxton and Nulkaba for around 20 kilometres, the two-lane road features long stretches of double lines interspersed with dashed overtaking sections.

Considered something of a 'black spot' by a number of publications, the drive has yet to be classified by government sources as in need of direct intervention.

In this case it could be the combination of a Landcruiser – a high-riding four-wheel drive (4WD) – and the smaller front-wheel drive Excel that were the biggest factors in the accident.

It has been widely documented that the bumper bars of many 4WDs are located at head height for drivers when seated in an ordinary car – meaning that any impact between the two could have dire consequences.

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