Residents want Millfield crash corner fixed

DESTRUCTION: Glen and Kristine Small at their Millfield property, where a car went through their fence last Wednesday. Photo by Melissa Hickey.
DESTRUCTION: Glen and Kristine Small at their Millfield property, where a car went through their fence last Wednesday. Photo by Melissa Hickey.

Following a car accident involving a local woman last Wednesday, residents of Millfield want something done before the worst happens.

Debbie Hawes, 40, of Millfield was the sole occupant of a vehicle that lost control on the sweeping corner of Millfield Road and Eleventh Avenue and ploughed through the fence of a Wollombi Road home.

The accident occurred just after 8am, when the car slid through the fence, struck the centre post of the carport and flipped on to its side before coming to a halt, narrowly missing Kristine and Glen Small’s home.

Ms. Hawes was assisted by neighbours and transported from the scene in an ambulance to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, which flew her to John Hunter Hospital.

She is currently recovering from her injuries and the incident is undergoing investigation.

Ms. Hawes’s crash was not a lone incident in the area; hers was the third car that has come through the fence of the Smalls’ property in the 18 years that they have lived there.

The first car that came through stopped just centimetres from the wall of their daughter’s bedroom, where she was asleep at the time.

Mr. and Mrs. Small approached council after this incident requesting armour guard railing be implemented on their fence line; however Mrs. Small said she was informed “it wasn’t in the budget.”

HARD WORK: Cessnock District Rescue Squad volunteers assisting at the crash scene.

HARD WORK: Cessnock District Rescue Squad volunteers assisting at the crash scene.

The second incident occurred just minutes after the Smalls’ young son had been playing in their back yard.

Now they believe enough is enough and want action before someone is killed.

 “We’ve been three times lucky, the fourth time we don’t know if we will be as lucky,” Mrs. Small said.

“Next time it could be a semi-trailer.”

In a letter addressed to council, she said: “Does one of my family members have to be killed before you spend any of my land rates to make me feel safe in my own home?

“I feel that council has a duty of care to me, my family and my property.”

Council officers have liaised with the Smalls,  as well as police and emergency services regarding the incident.

A council spokesperson said they “will be considering additional line marking, curve alignment markers and raised reflective pavement markers”.

The Smalls said they feel anxious every time they hear a speeding car in the neighbourhood and live in fear to even go into their own backyard.

Ms. Hawes’s daughter Melissa Mundine also believes there needs to be a guard rail installed to protect the houses.

“I would like to see further action taken on the road to prevent this happening again and to protect the poor people in both those houses,” Ms. Mundine said.

Ms. Mundine said her mum is lucky to be alive after seeing the damage, and although she said this incident was not caused by speeding, she has witnessed cars travelling up to 80km/hour on Millfield Road.

Fellow Millfield resident Vickii Polglase believes that there has been a surge in traffic using the intersection as more houses have started being developed in the area.

“The last couple of years it has increased and it’s going to get worse, there is no infrastructure to support the developing areas,” she said.

Ms. Polglase has lived on Millfield Road for almost 28 years, and has seen the quality of the roads deteriorate in that time, with high amounts of speeding traffic including large trucks accessing the road.

She believes there is a mentality for “hoons” due to a lack of police presence.

“The locals know you can do what you like out here,” she said.

“There’s no police, no nothing.”

One resident has even resorted to putting a sign on the side of the road to remind people of the 50km/hour speed limit on Millfield Road.

“They come tearing up from Paxton,” Mrs. Small said.

“It’s so dangerous.”

Another resident, Michelle Bowen, has taken matters into her own hands to prevent vehicles from crashing into her property.

She has installed large bricks onto the edge of her yard and created a large pond on the other side after two cars lost control and came onto her property not long after she moved in.

“They’re simple things but it was the best thing I could think of for protection,” she said.

Ms. Bowen said the bitumen on the bend leaks water constantly, adding to the lack of safety on the road.

She also said many school children access the road on bikes and scooters as there are no footpaths.

“Cars aren’t going to see kids on the side of the road,” she said.

The residents believe the problem has gone on for too long and feel as though they deserve a fix, regardless of the budget.

“How much is a child’s life worth?” Mrs. Small said.