It has been a horror start to the New Year on western Victorian roads after a young man died when a truck allegedly collided head-on with his sedan in Newbury, east of Ballarat, earlier this morning.
Distraught family members, including a toddler, arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and were comforted by police as detectives launched an investigation into the smash on Greendale-Trentham Road.
Detective Sergeant Col Schmidt of the Major Collision Investigation Unit said a Holden Commodore travelling south and an oncoming Isuzu truck collided about 7.45am.
“As a result of the collision, the driver of the Commodore, a 30-year-old man from Fern Hill, is (dead),” he said.
The driver of the Isuzu truck, a Grovedale man, was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital with non-life threatening injuries before being interviewed by police.
Detectives charged the 24-year-old late on Thursday evening with one count of dangerous driving causing death.
He will be remanded in custody overnight and will appear in Ballarat Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.
The Fern Hill man’s car was completely destroyed in the crash and he was pronounced dead at the scene near the entrance to the Newbury Buddhist Monastery.
Fern Hill, where the man lived, is a tight-knit rural community just east of Trentham.
His death marks the second road fatality in the state this year, both of which occurred in western Victoria as the regions continue to bear the brunt of the road toll.
Detective Sergeant Schmidt, who is based in Melbourne and investigates serious crashes across the state, called on motorists in the Ballarat region to take care.
“The message is the same – it’s always the same – slow down,” he said.
“Drugs and alcohol do not go with our roads. Make sure you’re rested. Take your time and assess what’s going on around you.”
Dutch tourist Peter Rietveld, who was cycling past before stumbling across the crash in Newbury, said it was an avoidable tragedy.
“Probably a father or a son has been lost ... people are going to be crying for months, for years.”