Police believe a lapse in concentration cost a 42-year-old Moyhu man his life in a crash at Greta South yesterday.
The man veered onto the wrong side of the Wangaratta-Kilfeera Road and when he tried to correct, he lost control of his car and struck a tree about 3.20pm.
The driver’s side of the white 1966 HR Holden hit the tree, causing the car to spin.
The man, who was driving south in the 100km/h zone near Thomas and Dinnings lanes, died instantly.
He was travelling alone.
Wangaratta highway patrol’s Sgt Michael Connors said it appeared some sort of distraction, not speed or the road condition, caused the crash.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a local who’s probably driven the road hundreds of times — just never let your concentration wane,” he said.
“If you let complacency in, fatalities and disasters like this are going to happen.”
Sgt Connors said the death would be a big blow to the Moyhu community, about a 15-minute drive from the scene of the accident, where “everyone knows everyone else”.
“Someone’s lost their life, now the family and the community’s got to deal with that,” he said.
“Road trauma is about decisions and the consequences of those decisions. They can be lot worse than a speeding ticket.”
He said the motorist who phoned triple-0 and emergency services who attended would also be affected by the crash.
The death came on the day Victoria Police assistant commissioner Robert Hill launched “road to zero”, a new campaign to encourage the community to help reduce road trauma.
Sgt Connors said the crash was a “wake-up call” to the community that road deaths were preventable.
“Being the officer in charge of the highway patrol, I take it personally,” he said.
He warned people to be careful throughout the Easter period later this month.
Sixty-eight people have died on Victorian roads this year — seven more people than at the same time last year.
The SES, CFA and Victoria Ambulance attended yesterday’s crash.
The Wangaratta-Kilfeera Road was closed for about three hours.
Police urged anyone who witnessed the crash to phone Wangaratta police on (03) 57230 888 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.