School tragedy

Manly Daily

Thursday 25 July 2002

Investigators call for witnesses to accident

A FIVE-year-old girl died yesterday after a reversing four-wheel drive hit her at a Collaroy school.

Bethany Holder was struck by the car in the grounds of the Pittwater House Schools at 8.30am as parents were dropping off their children.

Bethany, who was not a student, was with her father and sister.

Police said she was hit by a reversing Nissan Patrol 4WD.

The critically injured girl was taken by paramedics to Royal North Shore Hospital where she died at 1pm.

Northern Beaches Superintendent Denis Clifford said the accident was tragic but it did not appear speed was a factor.

“Whatever way you look at this, it's just such a tragedy,” Supt Clifford said.

“We have really got to be extra vigilant; we are talking about kids who are all excited and as much as we teach them about road safety, they are only just little kids.

“The school community is usually close-knit so this is just tragic.”

The Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the accident and has impounded the car.

A report is being repaired for the coroner.

Entrance to the school is via Parkes Rd which leads to a large quadrangle where parents can park and leave their children.

A separate exit leads to South Creek Rd.

The Pittwater House Schools administrators refused to comment but issued a statement directing all media inquiries to police.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby called on the State Government to introduce demerit points for dangerous parking.

“Vehicles like 4WDs are like small trucks; the vision around the car is blocked,” Mr Scruby said.

“We seem to think that a car has to be moving for it to be fatal but it's lethal all the time.”

The accident happened only a day after police issued a warning to drivers to be careful when travelling near schools.

Eleven schoolchildren, not including the recent death, have been killed after being hit by cars in the past 18 months.

Corbin Shakelford died in February after being struck by a car in North Manly.

Witnesses to yesterday's accident are urged to call Metropolitan Investigation Unit on 9418 8742 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 33 000.