Kerang rail crash victims' families 'still hurting' decade on from catastrophic collision

 

News article: Kerang rail crash victims' families 'still hurting' decade on from catastrophic collision

The victims of one of Victoria's worst rail disasters will be remembered today at a memorial service to commemorate 10 years since a truck collided with a V/Line train just north of Kerang.

  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
My thoughts go out to family and friends of the victims who without doubt would still be finding it tough.

Kerang rail crash victims' families 'still hurting' decade on from catastrophic collision

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
My thoughts go out to family and friends of the victims who without doubt would still be finding it tough.

Kerang rail crash victims' families 'still hurting' decade on from catastrophic collision
The end result was even better for the truck driver who was found not guilty.

If the media reports of the various legal proceedings are to be believed the accident 'was not caused by anyone' .

As a non lawyer I just cannot fathom this.

In other words, the accident was a true 'Act of God' (like an earthquake) and was not contributed to in any way by anyone. If so, I do not believe it.

'I didn't do it it just happened'.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
It is extraordinary that a truck driver in good weather who drive that routes dozens of times per month could not be held accountable in some way.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
My thoughts go out to family and friends of the victims who without doubt would still be finding it tough.

Kerang rail crash victims' families 'still hurting' decade on from catastrophic collision
x31
You never, ever "get over" the loss of a family member, and having someone to blame makes no difference at all.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
There is nothing to gain from finger pointing now. The processes are over. I feel for the relatives and friends of those who died, and I honestly don't know how I would cope in a similar situation.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The law is an a s s.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
There is nothing to gain from finger pointing now. The processes are over. I feel for the relatives and friends of those who died, and I honestly don't know how I would cope in a similar situation.
Valvegear
You pull up your socks and get on with your life, because that's what your lost relative would have wanted.
You never forget them, but you get on with life.
It ain't easy, I know from personal experience.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
There is nothing to gain from finger pointing now. The processes are over. I feel for the relatives and friends of those who died, and I honestly don't know how I would cope in a similar situation.
You pull up your socks and get on with your life, because that's what your lost relative would have wanted.
You never forget them, but you get on with life.
It ain't easy, I know from personal experience.
Pressman
Sad but true. At the end of the day there is no alternative.

You never forget but time will eventually dull the sharp edges.

I am at a loss to see the benefits of all these public 'anniversary' type events but I suppose there is a perception in some circles of potential political (votes) gain. Personally, I prefer to remember lost family, friends and comrades privately.

Similarly, I am at a loss to understand why/how replacing trains with busses to commemorate the event is helpful to anyone but we do live in the nanny state, of course.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

There is nothing to gain from finger pointing now. The processes are over. I feel for the relatives and friends of those who died, and I honestly don't know how I would cope in a similar situation.
You pull up your socks and get on with your life, because that's what your lost relative would have wanted.
You never forget them, but you get on with life.
It ain't easy, I know from personal experience.
Pressman
I agree there is too much of making a career out of grief, get on with your life.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Spare a thought for the truck driver in all of this.  Although exonerated, he must have suffered his own form of grief and torment over what happened.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

It is extraordinary that a truck driver in good weather who drive that routes dozens of times per month could not be held accountable in some way.
"x31"


In this case the court was presented with more than sufficient evidence that the roads people knew of serious problems at the level crossing and did nothing, I believe both VLine and the local council repeatedly warned the roads people and they still did nothing, in such cases it is felt that its unfair to penalise the driver for what is basicly a "system failure".

woodford
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Spare a thought for the truck driver in all of this.  Although exonerated, he must have suffered his own form of grief and torment over what happened.
Lad_Porter
You're kidding right? He knew the route, travelled over it weekly, knew the limitations of that crossing and wasn't paying attention. He killed 11 people and critically injured another 23 because of it, then got off without so much as a how-do-you-do. He gets up every morning, has breakfast with his family, spends weekends watching the footy, even pays his taxes. He gets to move on with his life.

Feel sorry for him? Pigs asre. He can carry the memory of those 11 people to his grave and beyond, for all I care.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
in such cases it is felt that its unfair to penalise the driver for what is basicly a "system failure".
"woodford"
The only systems that failed were attached to the truck driver's head, to wit, brain, eyes and ears.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

It is extraordinary that a truck driver in good weather who drive that routes dozens of times per month could not be held accountable in some way.


In this case the court was presented with more than sufficient evidence that the roads people knew of serious problems at the level crossing and did nothing, I believe both VLine and the local council repeatedly warned the roads people and they still did nothing, in such cases it is felt that its unfair to penalise the driver for what is basicly a "system failure".

woodford
woodford
What were the circumstances leading to the concluding that it was a system induced error? I am quite familiar with the concept and know they are more common than most realise.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
I agree with all those comments about the truck driver.  But even though acquitted of any wrongdoing he was, due to carelessness and complacency,  the cause of many deaths and injuries.  He knows that, it's his punishment, .and it must haunt him to this day.  A lifetime of remorse, and thinking "if only I had paid more attention" would not make it any easier.  He was the victim of a "system failure" as noted above, which is why he was acquitted, and therefore was as much a victim of the accident as anyone else.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
He was the victim of a "system failure" as noted above, which is why he was acquitted, and therefore was as much a victim of the accident as anyone else.
"Lad_Porter"
In a word; Nonsense. System failure, my foot.  There's a railway crossing which he knows well; the train has right of way; his responsibility is to let the train go, which means paying attention and using the old Mark One eyeball. He failed; the "system" didn't.
  ParkesHub Chief Commissioner

Spare a thought for the truck driver in all of this.  Although exonerated, he must have suffered his own form of grief and torment over what happened.
You're kidding right? He knew the route, travelled over it weekly, knew the limitations of that crossing and wasn't paying attention. He killed 11 people and critically injured another 23 because of it, then got off without so much as a how-do-you-do. He gets up every morning, has breakfast with his family, spends weekends watching the footy, even pays his taxes. He gets to move on with his life.

Feel sorry for him? Pigs asre. He can carry the memory of those 11 people to his grave and beyond, for all I care.
KRviator
The bloke travelled that road every few days. Knew the pattern of rail traffic. Driving a B-Dub has added responsibilities but he had a good barrister I suppose.
  stooge spark Train Controller

That truck driver does not  deserve to walk a free man, he basically committed a mass murder, and caused grief to hundreds of people. Someone who does this does not deserve a second chance, and should be locked away until we can say good riddance to them.

Edit: this might sound a little much and a bit cruel to someone who has to bear with the fact that they were responsible for the deaths of many people, but I think they need to really hammer that in.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Spare a thought for the truck driver in all of this.  Although exonerated, he must have suffered his own form of grief and torment over what happened.
Lad_Porter
And I hope he continues to suffer, he did not do his job properly and people died, that is inescapable, just remember he is still walking round enjoying his family, there are many who are not because of his actions.

Remember the case in Europe where Vitaly Kaloyev  whose family died after two planes  collided above Germany, he tracked down the man responsible and killed him, hopefully this truck driver spends the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
It was not "mass murder".  Murder is where you kill someone with the intention to kill, and when this man drove through the crossing he was careless and complacent and inattentive and all the rest of it, but he had no premeditated intention to kill anyone.  So why was he not convicted of a lesser crime, perhaps manslaughter?  There was more to it than just a "good barrister" - the facts, as presented, convinced the jury that he was not to blame, and as far as I know there was no appeal.

I'm not for a moment trying to defend this bloke, and I entirely agree with all the above comments about his lack of care at the crossing, but it's not a black and white case.  There were mitigating circumstances, and that's why he got off, rightly or wrongly.  But he knows what he did, and all the grief that he caused, all the lives that were lost, all the irreparable harm that was done, and he has to live with that for the rest of his life.  In my view that terrible knowledge is as much a punishment for what he did as being locked up.

Unless he is a totally insensitive idiot, of course.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
So why was he not convicted of a lesser crime, perhaps manslaughter?  There was more to it than just a "good barrister" - the facts, as presented, convinced the jury that he was not to blame, and as far as I know there was no appeal.

I'm not for a moment trying to defend this bloke, and I entirely agree with all the above comments about his lack of care at the crossing, but it's not a black and white case.  There were mitigating circumstances, and that's why he got off, rightly or wrongly.
Lad_Porter
The problem with that belief is that every case has some sort of mitigating circumstances which a good lawyer will attempt to exploit. And I think the majority of the Australian people have had a gutful of people like Christian Scholl getting off what is a clear-cut case of vehicular manslaughter (to use the yanks terminology).

What would be the difference if he "missed" a stop sign? Or perhaps a better description would be cleaning up a busload of school kids at traffic lights..."Your honour, I looked at the intersection 300m away and I saw a green light, and never looked at it again. How was I supposed to know the light could turn red?"

Everybody and every case will have something that can be used to try to defend or explain away the clear-cut facts, but, at the end of the day, the infrastructure met or exceeded the relevant standards with a couple of minor exceptions that were determined to not be a factor in the accident.

The judiciary has an awful lot to answer for with some of their decisions of late with many people seeming to think they are becoming more out of touch with community expectations. This is but one example of several involving rail accidents that tends to support that assertion.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Things like vehicle 'accidents' like this is the jury can think of instances where they had been within half a second of killing someone.  Even tonight 4 late secondary school kids ran out from behind a high fence of a private house and charged across a 4 lane road with heavy traffic without pausing or looking causing about 9 vehicles to take evasive action (including me).  I was able to dive around behind them but if one of them had slipped or dropped their phone and stopped to pick it up.....  There was only the width of the footpath between the fence and the road.  Do you think the parents would have accepted that 'their darlings' were capable of such actions or would they blame the driver's involved?

Juries think of such things and have been reluctant to pass a guilty verdict if they can forsee themselves in a similar situation.

I also know that one of the people calling for stricter punishment has ridden a push bike past a stopped tram with people disembarking and knocked one over.  If that person had hit their head on the gutter and died would they have accepted a murder or manslaughter charge?

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