25 horror traffic crashes that made 2014 a tragic year
THIS Christmas will be a difficult one for more than 20 families affected by fatalities on Darling Downs roads.
This year, 30 people have been killed in 25 different crashes.
The mothers, fathers, children and grandparents absent from family Christmas celebrations are a stark reminder of the ever present danger on our roads.
This year's road toll is the same as the 30 who died on Darling Downs roads in 2013.
District officer Darling Downs Police District Inspector Mike Curtin said despite the improvement on last year, the road toll was alarming reading.
"This many people dying on our roads are too many for the year," Insp Curtin said.
"What is concerning is a pattern where the Darling Downs is regularly one of the highest districts for road fatalities in the state. "We are constantly working with the State Government and a variety of different organisations to chip away at these horrible statistics."
Inspector Curtin stressed the need for all motorists to take extra care when they get behind the wheel.
"There's no doubt the Fatal Five - speeding, drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, fatigue or distraction - played some part in all these fatality crashes this year.
"Christmas is coming up, it's our busiest time of year, people need to plan their trip, adhere to the Fatal Five and if it's a long trip, break it up to avoid fatigue.
"And just be patient, we don't want to see any more fatal or serious crashes."
1. January 7: A 24-year-old French backpacker was killed when a Subaru station wagon collided with a 6.8 tonne truck at Glen Aplin, south of Stanthorpe. The crash also critically injured two other passengers travelling in the vehicle.
2. January 20: Brisbane man Edward Ekari, 33, was killed instantly when his car collided with a cattle truck west of Chinchilla on the Warrego Highway. The priest in training had just completed a placement at the Toowoomba Diocese's Chinchilla parish
3. January 22: Toowoomba father Bob McKillop died when his semi-trailer left the road near Warwick, rolled and ignited. The 60-year-old was transporting a load of cooking oil from Sydney to Toowoomba when he crashed on the New England Hwy.
4. January 24: Darling Heights man Jonathan Coles, 36, became the third driving casualty in a week when his black Commodore sedan collided with a truck 14km west of Toowoomba on the Gore Hwy.
5. January 26: Newlywed couple Grace Cai, 26, and Calvin Zhou, 27, were killed instantly in a horror crash when a car ploughed into the back of their two-door hatchback on the corner of Alderley and Ruthven Sts. The driver of the other vehicle, Ricky Prins, was taken to hospital with leg and facial injuries. On July 18, Mr Prins pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and excessively speeding.
6. February 6: A 54-year-old Stanthorpe man was killed on the New England Hwy when his car collided with a semi-trailer at Dalveen. The crash was the fourth fatal in as many weeks on the New England Hwy
8. February 27: A motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a truck on the New England Highway.
9. March 3: A three-car crash at Hatton Vale claimed the life of a 64-year old woman when her car was crushed between two trucks. A B-double crashed into the back of the woman car as she slowed down for road works ramming it into the back of another truck. The woman had lived in the area for more than 10 years was driving to Gatton for blood tests.
10. March 12: A 59-year-old man from the Toowoomba region was killed when the vehicle he was driving left the road and crashed into a tree south of Millmerran. Eugene Senior, who lived on a rural-residential block in the Captains Mountain district, died in the crash yesterday near the intersection of Heckendorfs Rd and the Gore Hwy.
11. March 27: A hit and run in the Toowoomba CBD claimed the life of 41-year-old St George man Luke Walker and hospitalised another two. 27-year-old Dongdingalong man Junior Ratu Albert is alleged to have casually walked past the deceased after running a red light and colliding with the 41-year-old on the intersection of James and Ruthven Sts. Mr Albert fled from the scene, but was caught by police. He was charged with dangerous driving causing death whilst adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and leaving the scene without help as well as two counts of grievous bodily harm.
12. April 25: Lowood cyclist Dr Martin Pearson killed while riding.
13. May 31: A 60-year-old New South Wales man was heading home from the Darling Downs when he was killed in a collision between his ute and a grain truck at Felton. Passers-by were unable to free the Nimbin man before fire engulfed the wreckage of his Great Wall ute.
15. July 5: One teenager was killed and another severely injured when their sedan veered off the road and overturned near Chinchilla. The 16-year old passenger, a Roma High School student, died at the scene. The driver was airlifted from Chinchilla Hospital to Brisbane in a stable condition. The two girls were on their way home to a relative's property.
16. August 5: A car and prime mover collided killing a 54-year old Hamilton man on the Warrego Highway west of Bowenville. Footage from the Caltex fuel tanker's dash cam showed the driver had no time to avoid a head on collision after the car veered onto the wrong side of the road.
18. September 5: Two fathers were killed in a double fatal two days before Father's Day when their car crashed into a light pole on the New England highway. Thulimbah residents Jeffrey Croft, 44, and Mark Ciufici, 57, had just left a friend's house when the crash occurred at the Summit.
19. September 14: 46-year old Rangeville man Chris Wild died on the Warrego Hwy when he was involved in a head on collision with a light truck west of Dulacca. The father of three was driving home from a job at Injune at the time of the crash.
20.September 23: A double fatal traffic crash on the Moonie Hwy has claimed the life of a 43-year old Gympie man and a 17-year old Weranga woman. The head on collision between a van and a utility occurred near the two lane Myall Creek Bridge. The teenager was airlifted to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane however later died. The male driver of the van died at the scene. The driver and passenger of the ute escaped injury.
21. September 24: A Toowoomba mother and her two young sons were killed when a their car and a semi-trailer collided on the Warrego Hwy at the intersection of Forest-Hill Ferndale Rd. Christine Lister, 38, and her two sons Zach, 13, and Noel, 8, died instantly when their Nissan Pulsar turned in front of the truck before colliding and bursting into flames. The 55-year old truck driver was not injured.
22. October 5: A 29-year old Kearneys Spring man was killed while walking along Toowoomba-Cecil Plains Rd at Wellcamp. The pedestrian was hit by a utility just after midnight and was rushed to Toowoomba Hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.
23. November 10: A 35-year old woman was killed and two others severely injured in a head on collision west of Chinchilla. Police said a sedan and ute were travelling in opposite directions, when they collided just near the Engine Road turn off on the Warrego Hwy. Despite being airlifted to Chinchilla Hospital the woman was pronounced dead on arrival.
24. November 16: A 69-year-old woman was killed in a head-on crash on the D'Aguilar Hwy, east of Yarraman. Two vehicles travelling in opposite directions collided head-on on the Gilla Bridge. The 69-year old was declared dead at the scene.
25. November 25: A man, 43 died when his ute crashed into a tree on the Dalby-Kogan Rd.
* The Chronicle has made every effort to list all fatalities available in our records.