Heartbroken dad’s safety call to prevent road tragedies

 

CRAIG Philpots knows the heartache of spending Christmas without a loved one too well, saying the pain of losing his son in a tragic road crash is still fresh in his heart.

Kurt Philpots, 20, died in a crash at Black River one year ago this week.

His family set up a Christmas tree at his memorial site on Monday, all feeling their own form of grief, as they still struggled to deal with his death as another festive season approaches.

"It's still very raw, and this time of year makes it feel like it's happened all over again," Mr Philpots said.

Townsville man Kurt Philpots, 20, was killed in a crash on the Bruce Highway last year. Photo: Facebook
Townsville man Kurt Philpots, 20, was killed in a crash on the Bruce Highway last year. Photo: Facebook

More than a dozen Townsville families will this year feel the same heartache the Philpots do, after a staggering number of lives were claimed on our roads in 2020.

Townsville District is headed on the trajectory of the worst 12 months of road deaths in at least five years, with 19 fatalities already recorded since January.

It is five more tragic deaths than last year, and eight more than 2018.

The district's tally, which extends past Richmond, makes up more than 40 per cent of the Northern Region's road toll, which sits at 47 deaths.

Earlier in the year, the city was rocked by the death of Reece Williams, 19, the death of young Taylah Pearson killed in a quad crash near Ayr, and more recently the death of Charters Towers teenager, Paige Gallon.

Mr Philpots said the pain of losing Kurt had not faded, and he urged drivers to pay attention on the roads.

Craig Philpots lost his son Kurt, in a car crash before Christmas last year. He is urging people to be safe on the roads this holidays. Picture: Alix Sweeney.
Craig Philpots lost his son Kurt, in a car crash before Christmas last year. He is urging people to be safe on the roads this holidays. Picture: Alix Sweeney.

"We constantly think about Kurt," he said.

"We've gone through our first Christmas without him, and the second is coming up, and it's going to be really hard.

"Drivers need to stay alert on the roads, especially with alcohol in the mix."

Townsville District Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon said it was a terrible result leading into Christmas, which is one of the busiest times of the year on the region's roads.

"That might be 19 people who have died, but it's 19 families, communities and friends that are suffering," he said.

Townsville Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Townsville Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

"This pain goes on. Death happens and the suffering and pain goes on."

Supt Hanlon said it was likely some of these crashes could have been avoided if people followed the road rules, saying 25 per cent of all fatalities were caused by speeding.

He also said he had seen an increase of crashes involving motorcycles, whose riders faced an even higher chance of injury.

"As a community we can stop this," Supt Hanlon said.

"If everyone drives with getting home to their family in mind, we can easily see a reduction in road trauma."

Police will be out in force over the Christmas period. FILE PHOTO
Police will be out in force over the Christmas period. FILE PHOTO

During the Christmas period of 2019, 13 people died in Queensland, and 182 were taken to hospital as a result of road-related crashes.

Supt Hanlon said police would kick off a new operation next week.

"There will be a very high presence of police on the roads."

"If you're doing something wrong, you will face the full force of the law."

 

 

shayla.bulloch@news.com.au

Originally published as Heartbroken dad's safety call to prevent road tragedies

Kurt’s father Craig Philpots followed by Kurt's brothers Coen and Jai as pallbearers at his funereal. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Kurt’s father Craig Philpots followed by Kurt's brothers Coen and Jai as pallbearers at his funereal. Picture: Alix Sweeney


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