Road markings, driving to blame for fatal crash that killed Yasmin Duncan

THE road markings and signage at the scene of a Hume Highway divergence near Tarcutta played a role in the death of Albury woman Yasmin Duncan in a car accident in 2010, a coroner found yesterday.

Coroner Tony Murray handed down his findings into the death of Ms Duncan, 18, more than four years after the March 5 crash.

Mr Murray said the inquest, originally listed for two or three days, took 12 days and concluded last December with a detailed examination of all issues raised in a complex and emotional matter.

Ms Duncan was a passenger in a Holden Torana driven by Table Top man Daniel Shiels which veered into the path of a B-double truck in wet conditions.

There was evidence during the inquest of confusion by drivers where the road was altered to diverge in a transition zone.

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Leightons Contractors were responsible for the roadworks being done by the Hume Alliance.

The Duncan family was represented by Albury solicitor Mark Cronin, who questioned senior traffic engineer Andrew Morse about signage leading up to the accident scene.

Mr Murray said Mr Morse conceded the signage, leaving the existing speed limit in place, the use of barrier boards, removal of the edge line and implementation of the taper were collectively inadequate, but not manifestly so.

Mr Murray ruled the road markings and signage, especially the failure to completely erase the old fog line, played a role in the collision.

“I am, however, not able, even on the balance of probabilities, to determine the exact or precise role or contribution they played in the collision,” he said.

“This collision was primarily caused by a driver travelling at a speed and distance from the motor vehicle in front of him which was not sufficient in the circumstances, especially in light of the heavy rain falling immediately before and at the time of the collision.”

But Mr Murray said Mr Shiels’ driving was not of the very high criminal standard of negligence required for an indictable offence.

Ms Duncan’s father Max, who was in court for yesterday’s finding with his wife Donna and daughters Blair and Jade, did not want to comment directly on the outcome.

He said he was yet to read the full findings and recommendations and wanted to consult with Mr Cronin before taking any further action publicly.

Mr Duncan thanked Mr Murray, who had shown his human touch in relation to the tragedy.

At one stage, Mr Murray left the bench briefly when obviously overcome by the family’s loss.

He outlined the “emotional roller-coaster” for the family, how they were informed of their daughter and sister’s death and an apparent failure to tell them of support services available.

He said the family had lacked support in their hour of need.

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