A CORONIAL inquest into the death of four men in a crash near Pyalong two years ago has cleared VicRoads of any fault.
Josh Taylor, Nick Mongta, Chris Reddin and Corey Bray were killed in a horror smash early on January 28, 2015, on their way back to Echuca-Moama from Melbourne.
In his findings, Coroner Peter White wrote the ‘‘four young lives were needlessly lost’’ when ‘‘young and inexperienced’’ driver Joshua Taylor ‘‘whose earlier consumption of methyl amphetamine had severely impacted upon his ability to maintain a proper level of control over his vehicle’’.
‘‘It is also the case that I am satisfied that all passengers were affected by their earlier substance abuse and as a result appear to have lost their ability to make appropriate judgements as to whether to join in the decision to undertake, or to continue on, this particular journey.’’
The foursome were travelling north from the Melbourne region when the car drifted across the wrong side of the road, slammed through a wire safety barrier and nose-dived into a tree about 6.30am.
Toxicology tests showed all four men had methamphetamine in their blood, with Mr Taylor’s blood levels being ‘‘extremely high’’.
Mr White found the positioning or design of the barriers did not contribute to the men’s death.
‘‘The various decisions made by VicRoads concerning the introduction of this program of road improvement were proper and reasonable and in the public interest,’’ he wrote.
‘‘The circumstances of this case again highlight the dangers of the use of methamphetamine, in particular, in the context of driving.
‘‘I note with approval that various statewide programs for road improvement have now broadened their perspective to allow for additional consideration to be given to run off type accidents such as this.
‘‘I acknowledge all such accidents cannot be avoided but observe that there appears to be a potential for the further reduction of the risk of accident in appropriate settings in rural areas ... which may include the introduction of highway centreline wire rope flexi barriers.’’