Chilling reason behind fatal crash on Darnum, Princes Freeway, Victoria

Chilling reason behind horror three-car crash as passenger, 30, is killed and female driver, 32, is left fighting for life – as cops detail how roadside mowing is linked to a deadly chain of events

  • Three cars and a truck crashed on Monday in Darnum, Victoria
  • Police have revealed how roadside mowing is linked to collision  

Roadside mowing on the side of a highway has been linked to a horror three car pile-up where a woman was killed and a female driver was left fighting for life. 

A truck and three cars crashed in the west-bound lanes of the Princes Highway at Darnum, in Victoria’s West Gippsland region, about 8.40am on Monday.

A female passenger, 30, travelling in the front of a bronze Jeep died at the scene while the driver, 32, and a 14-year-old passenger were airlifted to hospital.

The driver is in a critical condition while the teenager suffered serious injuries. All three occupants of the Jeep are from Warragul.

Detective Sergeant Darryl Out said roadside mowing had changed traffic conditions in the area and vehicles on the road were ‘either stopped or moving very slowly’. 

Police, fire crews and paramedics rushed to the scene of the multi-vehicle crash, about 113km southeast of Melbourne, during peak hour on Monday morning

‘The truck driver, for whatever reason, has unfortunately struck the last vehicle in the line of cars,’ he told reporters on Monday.

‘The mowing that was occurring in the right-hand lane, or off the right-hand lane, had the road signage vehicles travelling behind it to make everyone merge into the left-hand lane and the traffic had banked up.’

The 21-year-old female driver of a silver Mazda was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

A 53-year-old man and teenage boy in a third car, a white Mitsubishi, were assessed at the scene by paramedics. 

The truck driver, a 61-year-old man, is currently assisting police with their investigations.

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the cause of the crash and its surrounding circumstances.  

The fatal collision brings the number of lives lost on Victorian roads so far this year to 132. 

The tragedy comes just two days after four people – a woman in her 30s and three teenagers – were killed when a red Toyota Corolla veered off Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road at Bochara, west of Melbourne, and struck a tree. 

Three cars and a truck crashed in the west-bound lanes of the Princes Highway at Darnum, in Victoria's West Gippsland region, at about 8:40am on Monday

Three cars and a truck crashed in the west-bound lanes of the Princes Highway at Darnum, in Victoria’s West Gippsland region, at about 8:40am on Monday

Last month, Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing Glenn Weir said there has been a significant rise in multiple-fatality crashes this year compared to 2022 on Victorian roads.

In an emotional plea, he urged drivers to heed road rules to stay safe after five people and a dog were killed after a ute was struck by a B-double truck near Strathmerton. 

‘When the all the tape is taken down, all the cars are towed away, and everything is cleaned up and everyone will move on, it is quite easy for the crash to be something that happened the other week, the other month, or last year,’ he said. 

‘But we can’t let it stop at that. It is time for people to wake up.

‘I don’t know what more we can do to try and appeal to people to take care.’

Anyone with any information about the Darnum crash is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.