Two crashes in three days

Two crashes in three days

Ben Lawrence, in front of the chevron sign which lay on the ground for more than a week before his crash on Saturday morning. Photograph - Richard Polden.

A man is seeking answers after smashing his car through an intersection with no lighting or signage, leaving him without a car and unable to work.

Ben Lawrence, who has three children including a terminally ill, eight-year-old daughter, said he was “doing everything right” as he drove home from a friend’s house at around 9.30pm on Friday, and suddenly found his car crashing through a paddock fence beyond the T-junction at Bishop Rd and Hopkinson Rd in Mundijong.

“I was traveling under the speed limit, I had slowed down to about 70 to cross the rail crossing,” Mr Lawrence said.

“There was no indication there was a T-junction, it was pretty overcast, there was no lighting.

“Before I knew it, I was airborne into a paddock with fencing wrapped around my car.

“I was very lucky there wasn’t another car, there could be a life lost if they don’t sort it out.”

Mr Lawrence, who lives in South Yunderup, said he emerged from his car ‘rattled’ and telephoned a friend, who helped move the car to a safe place before driving him home to his family.

In an email to the SJ Shire on Thursday, October 20, more than 24-hours before Mr Lawrence’s crash, the owner of the property, Lisa Brazier, reported the chevron sign – the black and white arrowed hazard marker indicating a road edge – had been knocked over.

“Apparently Wednesday week ago someone has left the road and crashed into the chevron sign and it is smashed on the ground,” the email read.

“We have had, in the space of three days, two people not stop at the end of Hopkinson Road and end up in the paddock.

“Someone is going to kill themselves shortly when they hit either the power pole or its strainer pole.

“Could the Shire please replace the chevron sign ASAP.”

In response, the Shire advised it had reported the issue to Main Roads, who are responsible for the installation and maintenance of all the existing regulatory and warning road signs at the intersection.

Main Roads WA did not respond to questions over how many times signage issues at the intersection had been reported, but said they had reinstated damaged signs at the location “several times” in the past year.

The following day Ms Brazier took to Facebook to report that yet another car had overshot the intersection.

“Another day another car – still no chevron sign – yes, it’s been reported – and this time they have taken out the strainer wire to the main power pole – trust the driver is OK – a fair bit of mess in the paddock.  This is becoming like the Bayswater Bridge,” the post read.

In July 2020, the SJ Shire council approved a motion to install lighting at a number of intersections, including the nearby Bishop Rd and Taylor Rd. Bishop Rd and Hopkinson Rd was not included.

Mr Lawrence said his biggest fear was being unable to get their daughter, who suffers from a terminal illness, to hospital in case of an emergency.

“The damage to my car is probably well over two thousand dollars that I can’t afford, today I missed 12 hours at work because I can’t drive there,” Mr Lawrence said on Saturday.

Despite repeated requests, the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale did not respond to questions.