Matthew Maddin poses in front of his wrecked car that crashed at Awoonga Dam Rd, Benaraby on Saturday.
Matthew Maddin poses in front of his wrecked car that crashed at Awoonga Dam Rd, Benaraby on Saturday. Sarah Steger

NOT FUNNY: Firies bear brunt of 'hoon' attitude

"WE WERE only going 50" were among the first words a passenger muttered while he pried himself out of a flipped white Holden Commodore.

At 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon, a vehicle carrying two men rolled off Awoonga Dam Rd at Benaraby and landed on its roof.

Matthew Maddin, a passenger at the time of the crash, immediately blamed it on a tight, hairpin turn across a railway line.

"It's just the corner. The corner's a sh*t corner," he said.

But residents who watched the crash unfold had a different take on things, saying the accident was not the first the road had seen and far from the last.

"There's at least two a week ... countless drivers lose it around that corner," one local said.


Awoonga Dam Rd crash.
Awoonga Dam Rd crash. Sarah Steger

A resident who witnessed the whole incident said he and his family could hear the car coming long before they saw it.

"They were hooning. They slowed down at the corner, put the foot on the clutch and then dumped it, and you can see how far they got," he said, pointing to the smashed up car 20 metres up the road.

The resident claimed he was first on the scene and said the passenger's reaction upon climbing out of the rolled car "said it all".

"He got out boasting he still had his beer in his hands! And no, you weren't just doing 50km/h. I watched you step on it and heard your motor hit 8000 revs.

"And it's not just them. It's 90% of the people that think it's (Awoonga Dam Rd) a drag strip. It's only a matter of time until someone is killed."

Both occupants of the car involved in Saturday's crash sustained no injuries, but the driver of the car, a 21-year-old West Gladstone man, was charged with drink driving.

Police will allege he blew a blood-alcohol content reading of 0.066% after being taken to Tannum Sands police station.

Saturday's crash was the second serious incident the sharp corner has seen in a year, with the previous one involving a car crashing into a resident's driveway.

"The community is over it now," another local said.

"It'd be easy for a car to come straight through and into our pool through the fence ... There's plenty of kids in this neighbourhood and there's a park ... What happens if these hoons, that think it's funny, hit one of our children or the elderly people walking their dogs on the side of the road?"

"It's not funny."



While most would assume a serious crash warrants a certain level of respect, the immature reaction to the crash was noticed by on scene firefighters as well.

As emergency responders attended to the vehicle and worked to make the scene safe, Mr Maddin (the passenger) jumped in front of the wreck and asked The Observer's reporter to take a photograph of him.

He then proceeded to ask a firefighter whether or not the car was ready to be towed.

Getting the go-ahead, he then told the firefighter "It better be safe ... that's your job and if it (the car) blows up halfway up the road then I'm blaming you".

QFES Calliope firefighter Scott Wilson said disrespect toward emergency workers was far from a new concept.

"We come across people with absolutely no respect ... but then that's the reason they're in that position. They obviously have no respect for the road either."

QFES acting inspector Noel King of the Gladstone Command said any mistreatment of first responders was unfair and unnecessary.

"People are embarrassed that they've gotten themselves into the situation and so they become aggressive and disrespectful, but it's not okay," he said.

"We're just there to do our jobs and try to help."


Awoonga Dam Rd crash.
Awoonga Dam Rd crash. Sarah Steger

Another witness to the crash, Ken Jones, said he contacted the council about the speed limit on the road in 2016.

"This road is treacherous and it's a straight line for a really long time ... so it's perfect for hoons," Mr Jones said.

"So I asked them (council) to leave it at 60km/h where there's an 80km/h sign right now, and keep it like that for two more kilometres and then it can go to 90 or 100, I don't care.

"But they came back to me with a load of bullsh** ... It's not hard to unbolt a 60km/h sign and then just put it where an 80km/h sign is."

A council spokesman said the request could have been refused for a number of reasons and that there was never just "one answer."

"It might not have been a realistic request or it might not have kept to the standard of how the road is used," they said.

Mr Jones, a long-time local, said he appreciated that police sometimes sat on the side of the road to catch out speeders, but it wasn't achieving enough.

"We need speed bumps or something," another resident added.

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