A GRIEVING mother whose 21-year-old son was killed in a fiery Western Highway collision is calling for the Pykes Creek “death trap” to be widened, so no other family faces the cruel grief she will endure for the rest of her life.
Nik Barbara was pulled from his burning vehicle by witnesses when his car struck the rear of a truck on July 12, police say. Witnesses tried to revive him but he died at the scene.
His grief stricken mother, Sharon Walker, lives with the constant fear that another family will be devastated by a crash at that very spot. This has driven her to start an online petition.
“This road needs to be widened and warnings are urgently required,” Ms Walker said.
“There are no lights, there is no signage.
“I have lost my son and it’s killing me.”
In the five years between 2011 and 2015 there have been seven casualty crashes on the highway, between Pykes Creek and Old Melbourne Road. Five resulted in serious injury.
VicRoads acting regional director Bradley Pryor said VicRoads is currently investigating opportunities to improve road safety on the Western Highway, including the location where the fatality occurred.
“This investigation will take into account the circumstances surrounding all crashes that have occurred, to determine the most appropriate safety improvements,” Mr Pryor said.
Mr Barbara lived in Ballan and was 10 minutes from his home when the tragedy occurred. At the time he had been living with his girlfriend, helping her bring up her 18-month old daughter.
“I heard the sirens, when I realised what was happening it was a nightmare,” Ms Walker said.
“His girlfriend and daughter could have been in the car. It could have been a family tragedy.”
Detectives are still investigating the exact cause of the collision – but Ms Walker believes the design of the road had a major impact.
Ms Walker believes her son was approaching a blind spot when he may have lost control of his vehicle and found he had nowhere to go, forcing him to go out wide.
“We can't bring him back, but we can honor his memory and call for urgent action by supporting this petition before it takes another. No one wants to bury their child,” Ms Walker said.
Ballarat MP Catherine King vowed to meet with the family to discuss funding seeking options.
MInister for Roads Luke Donnellan extended his sympathies to Mr Barbara’s family and said appropriate authorities were currently undertaking investigations to determine the cause.