Crash driver calls for river ramp warning signs

A YOUNG driver who crashed his car into the Hopkins River in a freak accident is appealing for Warrnambool City Council to place warning signs around a boat ramp.

Thomas Petty says he was driving at the speed limit in “pitch black” with his headlights on high beam when his car plunged off the boat ramp at the end of Mahoneys Road on Saturday night.

Mr Petty, from Healesville,  had four passengers in his car and was searching for a place to eat takeaway. 

Thomas Petty's car is retrieved from the Hopkins River on Saturday night.

Thomas Petty's car is retrieved from the Hopkins River on Saturday night.

“I’m not from here. I’m living here now but I’ve only been living here for a week,” Mr Petty said. 

“I actually turned my music down to concentrate and had my high beams on. I was not speeding.” 

A friend warned him the river was nearby. 

“I’ve just slammed on my brakes — I didn’t even know what I was stopping for and the next thing I knew all this water sprayed up on my windscreen.” 

All five escaped the car unharmed but lost all their iPhones in the river. 

The accident also wrote off Mr Petty’s 2001 Subaru wagon worth $5000. 

The 18-year-old says a “reduce speed” sign or better lighting should be installed to avoid a repeat of the incident. 

“All I had was a 60 (km/h) sign. I don’t want someone else to go through what I went through,” Mr Petty said. 

“I couldn’t see my friend for a few minutes and he’s my best mate. There were two girls (in the car) who were 15 and if I was responsible for killing one of them I could never live with myself.” 

A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said it was “yet to receive a report about an incident on Mahoneys Road”. 

Emergency services had to tow the vehicle out.


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