Coalfields fatality Hunter's fifth in two weeks

POLICE will investigate how a car came to be on the incorrect side of a Coalfields road yesterday before it was involved in a collision which killed a coal miner on his way to work.

The Cessnock man, 31, died at the scene of the Wine Country Drive accident before 6am when his Holden Commodore rolled several times.

He was only a few kilometres from home.

Sydney-based crash investigators spent several hours at the scene looking at why a Ford Falcon being driven towards Cessnock had drifted into the northbound lane.

It was still unclear whether the dead man’s car first collided with a Toyota Hilux utility, which was parked on the side of the road as its driver was on a mobile phone, or the Falcon.

The driver of the Falcon, a 27-year-old woman, and her 31-year-old male passenger, were flown by Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital for treatment.

A helicopter spokesman said the man had suffered a suspected fractured pelvis while the woman was believed to have broken both ankles.

The male driver of the Toyota was not injured in the accident.

The death is the fifth on Hunter roads in 14 days, following the deaths of motorcyclist Peter Davies last Wednesday, best mates Shane Laffy and Bayden Garrett on November 17, and teenager Lachlan Rae at Muswellbrook four days earlier.

It was also the 11th death on the state’s roads in five days, prompting police to plead with motorists to slow down and drive carefully.

“The tragic loss of life we have seen over the last few days highlights just how quickly things can go wrong on the road,” Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said.

“Motorists need to exercise caution and stick to the road rules at all times. Even the most minor of motorist errors can have tragic consequences.

“The festive period is only a few weeks away and the roads will get busy as holidaymakers head for the north and south coasts.

“Make sure you are able to enjoy the holiday season with your family.’’

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