Dancers died holding hands after nightmare collision
TWO of the four friends killed when their car was T-boned on a regional Victorian road held hands as they died from internal injuries after spending the day together linedancing.
Elaine Middleton, Claudia Jackson, Tess Ely and Dianne Barr, aged between 64 to 75, were heading home after a line dancing event in St Arnaud when the car was hit in Navarre about 6pm on Saturday.
Hamilton Bootscooters' Linda Rook, who taught the women linedancing for 23 years, told AAP she had lost very close friends and their deaths left a "very big hole".
"We are absolutely devastated. We are just trying to support each other," she said on Sunday.
"We are just going to miss them heaps. They are very dedicated to our linedancing group." Ms Rook said only four of the 12 in their group, who went to the event, drove home last night.
Cynthia Rennolds, who had organised the Cactus Moon Linedancing event, said knew three of the women very well through line dancing and could not believe they were gone.
"To lose four in one foul swoop it is very hard to get your head around," she told AAP on Sunday.
"They are full of fun. Always helped when needed. Fabulous, fabulous women ... just great people who loved their line dancing." She said it was "too soon" to decide whether the annual event would be held again.
Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer told reporters on Sunday the sight of the driver holding her passenger's hand at the crash scene would "haunt me for some time".
"The elderly women had no chance whatsoever, there was no opportunity to take evasive action," he said.
The women were driving in a Kia Rio on an isolated, clear stretch of road in a 70km/h section when the other car came straight through an intersection in an 80km/h zone, Mr Fryer said.
Four people from a nearby house came out to help before emergency services arrived.
The 64-year-old woman driving the other car was taken to hospital where she had blood samples taken. She will be interviewed by police.
Victoria's road toll stands 78, with eight people killed on the state's roads since Saturday morning.
Plea for care as eight die on Victoria's roads
Authorities are reeling after a horror weekend on Victoria's roads, with police saying the eight fatalities are a reminder of the "fragility of life". Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer urged motorists to slow down and take care. "I've never seen anything like those numbers since I've been in this role," he told reporters on Sunday.
"The message if anything is the fragility of life, you've got people driving around in two tons of steel coupled with speed, coupled with complacency." Mr Fryer was speaking at a road safety event with Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan in Melbourne.
"In April, I say this in an unusual way, we only lost 10 people's lives... that was the best month we've had since we started collecting statistics," Mr Donnellan said.
"This weekend, that just smashed those figures out of the water and just highlighted to us all we need to work together with road safety, we need to take individual responsibility, we need to drive to the conditions." On Sunday morning one driver lost control and went through a farm fence at Heathcote Junction. He died at the scene but his four passengers escaped unhurt. A second driver died when his car left the roadway and struck a tree at Bright on the Great Alpine Road about 10.35pm on Saturday.
The man was alone in the vehicle and died before he could be taken to hospital. On Saturday four women were killed when the car they were in was T-boned by another at Navarre as they were coming home from linedancing. The two women in the front died holding hands and all four women died from internal injuries, Mr Fryer said.
"The sight of the driver holding the passenger's hand as she passed will haunt me for some time," he said.
Earlier on Saturday a 58-year-old man died after his motorcycle collided with a bus and a woman who was a passenger died when the car she was in crashed into an embankment at Dixons Creek.