Victim of crash speaks up about dangerous intersection

TAKE ACTION: Crash victim Anna McLeish wants to see the intersection of Mitre, Suttor and Lambert streets fixed before it is too late. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 051717cmitre1

TAKE ACTION: Crash victim Anna McLeish wants to see the intersection of Mitre, Suttor and Lambert streets fixed before it is too late. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 051717cmitre1

WHAT should have been a simple errand turned into a nightmare for Anna McLeish and her family. 

In late November, the city heard of a car ploughing into the fence of the Assumption School on the day of kindergarten orientation.

While no one was seriously hurt or killed, the accident could have had a very different ending had it happened just 15 minutes earlier when children were arriving. 

Mrs McLeish was the driver behind the wheel of the car, crying and incoherent after another vehicle had shot out of Suttor Street and collided with her Mitsubishi. 

“I was just frozen in my car. I don’t remember who took me out,” she said. 

The intersection of Mitre, Suttor and Lambert streets is now infamous for its confusing and dangerous nature, and very few know that better than Mrs McLeish.

At the time of the accident, she was on her way back to her Kelso home after collecting a trailer from her daughter’s house in West Bathurst.

She was travelling on Mitre Street and had seen a car on Lambert Street and another car waiting on Suttor Street. 

The accident was not Mrs McLeish’s fault, but that day she lost the first brand new car her family had ever owned and also lost her confidence as a driver. 

“It took me quite a few months to go across that part of the world,” she said. 

“Whenever I’m driving in my car through any intersection, I am just so cautious.” 

But what scares her most is that she could have lost her life and, as a carer for her husband, that is just not an option.

“We’ve been married a long time and that is just a worry for me; I need to stay as well as I can for as long as I can,” Mrs McLeish said.

She said there had been a number of crashes at that intersection over the years and many more near-misses.

Her accident, and hearing the stories of others, has shown her that Bathurst Regional Council can’t leave the intersection as it is for any longer. 

“’One day’ might be one day too late,” she said.

Council has allocated $1.7 million in its draft 2017-18 budget to realign the intersection and install a roundabout. 

It will put up half of this amount and hopes to secure the other half from the Black Spot funding it has applied for.

If council is unsuccessful in its application, it will have the option look for the money elsewhere. 

Until it is fixed, Ms McLeish has urged motorists to be more careful when travelling through the intersection, particularly during school pick-up and drop-off times.

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