A DARTMOOR apprentice electrician on his way home was killed when the vehicle he was driving crashed and exploded just south of Milltown, near Heywood, late Sunday night.
Investigators believe the 20-year-old man was travelling south on the Henty Highway when he lost control of his car, veered off the road and struck a tree about 11pm.
An off-duty nurse and emergency services worked to save the man but he died at the scene. It is understood the vehicle caught fire and a gas cylinder exploded.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner.
It is understood that initially Hamilton police were sent to Penshurst in response to the accident, but that confusion did not hinder Portland district police arriving at the accident scene as soon as possible.
The accident continues a horror run on Victorian roads during October with almost 20 families now spending Christmas without a loved one.
Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill is urging Victorians to remember that “we are the toll”.
“We’re only two months away from Christmas and it is devastating that these families won’t get to spend that time with their loved one,” Mr Hill said.
“Unfortunately it is also a timely reminder for all other road users not to put themselves in that position.
“I’m urging everyone to keep talking about road safety — have the discussion with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours about the importance of obeying the road rules. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
Mr Hill said the majority of deaths had been on country roads, with most collisions involving a single vehicle.
The ages of those killed ranged from a newborn baby girl through to an 88-year-old man. Victoria’s October road toll now stands at 20 just halfway through the month compared with 21 people who were killed over the entire month of October in 2011.
“Driving is a privilege, not a right and it’s important to treat that privilege with the respect it deserves,” Mr Hill said. “This also applies to motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. Be courteous, be patient and above all, be careful,” he said.
The spate of recent fatalities has seen the 2012 toll jump to 225 compared to 218 for the same time the previous year.