Police at the crash site. Picture: David Crosling
Police at the crash site. Picture: David Crosling

How driver found out about hit-run death

THE investigation into the tragic hit-run death of a Melbourne schoolgirl has revealed the driver learned about the accident on the news.

According to The Age, the 39-year-old driver of the black Makita-branded vehicle that knocked 14-year-old Aivy Nguyen to the ground handed himself in after a newsreader revealed a truck had hit a schoolgirl at the notorious Ringwood intersection on Wednesday.

The driver is believed to have phoned police from Holmesglen TAFE in Chadstone, 10km from the corner of Maroondah Highway and Dampier Grove where the teen was hit attempting to cross towards nearby Heatherdale Railway Station.

Aivy died at the Royal Children's Hospital from suspected head injuries hours after the collision and the driver has been released without charge pending further investigations.

The schoolgirl from Mouth Alexander College in Flemington was remembered as "smart, innocent and adorable" by family members who gathered at the intersection in Melbourne's east where floral tributes and a candlelight vigil were being held.

Her cousin Kimberly said Aivy and her younger sister, aged 10, were "joined at the hip" and that Aivy "would always look after her little sister."

Aivy Nguyen’s grieving family gathered at the scene on Wednesday night. Picture: David Caird
Aivy Nguyen’s grieving family gathered at the scene on Wednesday night. Picture: David Caird

The 10-year-old was crying in her mother's arms metres away from the intersection where her sister was knocked down.

VicRoads and Maroondah City Council have been tight lipped about the intersection which includes four pedestrian crossings, 16 lanes of traffic, four service roads and dozens of traffic lights. It channels tens of thousands of drivers each day from all directions past nearby Heatherdale Railway Station in one direction and onto the busy EastLink toll road a few hundred metres away in the other.

Local business owners say it is "notorious" and that crashes occur regularly, but the council did not return news.com.au's request for comment on Wednesday.

A former council traffic engineer told the Herald Sun the intersection has "always been a problem" and was long considered a safety issue for pedestrians.

VicRoads confirmed one major accident at the intersection in 2017 left one person with serious injuries.

The intersection reportedly became even more dangerous after an access point to Heatherdale station was changed to accommodate works. It means people have to cross at the opposite side of the road now.

Sue Langley, a local business owner, told Fairfax there is a "lot less visibility" and a "lot more traffic" across the new pedestrian access area.

Maroondah Highway has long been on the list of Victoria's most dangerous roads. According to insurance company AAMI, there were 187 claims in 2016, making it the seventh worst in the state. The previous year it was ranked 14th.