Police urge motorists to take care after Hunter's tragic long weekend on roads

HUMAN COST: Three men died on Lake Macquarie roads over the long weekend. “It’s always a tragedy when a life is lost on the road," Northern Region Traffic Tactician Acting Inspector Chad George said.
HUMAN COST: Three men died on Lake Macquarie roads over the long weekend. “It’s always a tragedy when a life is lost on the road," Northern Region Traffic Tactician Acting Inspector Chad George said.

THREE men are dead and a woman is in a serious condition in hospital after a horror long weekend on the Hunter's roads.

The shocking toll came after the death of a 57-year-old man on Kalaroo Road in Redhead on Sunday night.

The man, who is believed to have suffered a medical episode, lost control of the car and careered into a fence.

He was found unconscious at the scene and could not be revived.

On Saturday, Lake Macquarie teenagers Blake Minns and Matt Lambert died in a crash at Morisset, with their car bursting into flames after crashing into a telegraph pole on Marconi Road about 1.30am.

On Monday, crash investigators were on Waratah’s Turton Road for several hours after a woman was struck by a car about noon.

The woman, believed to be in her 70s, was in a serious condition in John Hunter Hospital.

Traffic was heavy at the usual choke points on the M1 Motorway at Heatherbrae and Tarro, with queues banked back for several kilometres as the long weekend came to a close.

As of Sunday, police had conducted more than 6000 breath tests across the Hunter.

According to police, more than 250 speeding fines were issued, with motorists in the Hunter Valley Local Area Command, which takes in the New England Highway, the worst offenders after 111 speeding fines were handed out.

Eleven tickets were issued for motorists caught not wearing a seat belt.

Highway Patrol Northern Region Traffic Tactician Acting Inspector Chad George said overall police were pleased with driver behaviour, given the volume of traffic on the roads.

However, he said many of the accidents experienced over the long weekend were avoidable.

“It’s always a tragedy when a life is lost on the road,” Acting Inspector George said.

“A lot of these accidents could have been avoided. Unfortunately, there’s a minority of people who do the wrong thing on the roads.”

Highway Patrol Acting Assistant Commissioner David Driver urged motorists to take care on the roads.

“We have already seen a number drivers speeding, taking unnecessary risks and driving dangerously,” Assistant Commissioner Driver said. “Unfortunately there have been five deaths on our roads this long weekend, plus another two on private property.

“Our message is simple: slow down, choose your ride wisely and follow the road rules to ensure you and others return home safely.”

A report will be prepared for the state coroner after the three fatalities in Lake Macquarie.