Cop’s grave plea to drivers

CONCERN: Barossa Local Service Area traffic manager Paul Henderson has seen some harrowing tragedies during his four decades with SAPOL.
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During his 39-year careerSergeant Paul Henderson has attended his share of horrific road accidents.

But the Barossa LSA traffic manager says there’s one thing worse than arriving on the scene of a fatal crash.

“One of the things that police hate doing, at any time of the year, is that death knock on the front door,” Sergeant Henderson said.

“It’s a horrible experience to go to somebody’s home to tell them they’ve lost a loved one. That’s worse than dealing with the deceased person on the road, because you get that emotional feedback.

“It’s heart wrenching, it really can be.”

Sergeant Henderson recalled one particular incidentthat still haunted him even decades later.

“I can recall an event back in the 1980s, two young men on the way to work crashed and the workplace had rung theparents saying they hadn’t got to work.

“It’s now some hours later in the middle of the night when Iarrived on the doorstep to say your kids have died in this crash.

“As soon as Igot out of the police car, on the street,the screaming started from the house, the mother, sheknew.

“I got to the front door and her immediate response to me was, ‘They’re dead aren’t they?’ Yes.

“You can’t avoid that, there’s no sugar coating it. It’s just a horrible message to give.”

With the holidays fast approaching and the road toll inevitably set to spike, police have a message for drivers.

“Beconsiderate of your family members. If you take riskson the road and hurt yourself you’re not only hurting yourself, you’re having a traumatic effect on the familymembers,” Sergeant Henderson said.

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