The Victorian Premier has vowed his government will learn from the deadly Bourke st crash, but insists there’s “limits to how far you can go”.
Three pedestrians were struck by a white Toyota Aurion about 6.20pm on Friday before the vehicle allegedly “sped up” and struck two cars — killing a 76-year-old driver and injuring two others.
The alleged driver of the vehicle, Zain Khan, 26, was charged with offences including murder and attempted murder after his arrest at the scene.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no “obvious” safety measure that could have prevented the crash — the third fatal incident on Bourke St in six years.
“We’re always ready to do more, there’s been $52 million worth of works ... to try and protect and provide sanctuary to people,” he said.
“There’s always limits to how far you can go when you’ve got shared spaces and particularly when you’re running a tram network which is unique in the world.”
A $52.5 million security upgrade across Melbourne’s CBD was launched after a January 2017 rampage killed six people on Swanston and Bourke Streets.
The works included the installation of hundreds of steel bollards, reinforced barriers and gates in high-profile pedestrian sites.
Mr Andrews said he had received advice there was “not much more” that could be done to ensure safety in Melbourne
“I don’t think there is an obvious engineering fix ... but having said that, that‘s why you have the coroner look at these matters,” he said.
“If there‘s anything more we can do that comes through that coronial process, of course we stand ready to do that.
“We owe it to the family of that 76-year-old man who lost his life and those who are injured and those who are caught up in this — we owe it to all of them to try and learn from this incident and any other incident.”
Homicide squad detectives charged Mr Khan, from Melton West on Melbourne’s northwestern fringe, on Saturday evening.
Police will allege Mr Khan ploughed into pedestrians and then sped up before he smashed into two cars at a tram stop on Bourke St.
The driver of a Hyundai, a 76-year-old man, died at the scene, while five others were taken to hospital.
Three men and two women, aged in their 20s and 30s, were understood to be in stable conditions with various injuries.
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Shane Patton, said the vehicle was possibly travelling at 60 to 70 km/hr before the deadly collision.
He said there were no warning signs or reports of erratic driving before the incident.
He noted the counter terrorism unit had assessed all of the intelligence related to the crash and concluded it was not a terror act.
“We’ve ruled out terrorism as being any factor in this,” commissioner Patton said.
He was deemed “unfit” to be questioned by police after a mental health interview and was unable to be interviewed for close to 24 hours.
Mr Khan appeared at an after hours court hearing on Saturday, where charges of one court, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of intentionally causing serious injury and two counts of conduct endangering life were formally laid.
Three pedestrians and two people inside the Mazda were injured when Mr Khan allegedly crashed into them at speed.
All five were assessed by paramedics at the scene, according to a spokeswoman for Ambulance Victoria.
One was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a serious condition, and four others were hospitalised in a stable condition.
On Saturday morning, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews paid tribute to the elderly man killed in the crash.
“On behalf of all Victorians, we send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the 76-year-old man who died,” he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Mr Khan allegedly drove a white Toyota sedan down the tram tracks in Bourke St, striking three pedestrians as they crossed the road.
It’s alleged he then sped up before colliding with a Hyundai, killing its driver and injuring an Uber driver and passenger in a grey Mazda.
Confronting footage of the aftermath allegedly showed police pull Mr Khan from the roof of his car, where he sat for minutes as shocked bystanders watched on.
The crash comes five years after a car was deliberately driven into a group of pedestrians on the same street in a harrowing attack that killed six people.
“ Obviously this will bring up memories and trauma for all those involved in 2017 in Bourke Street and our hearts go out to them,” commissioner Patton said.
Premier Andrews stressed that $50m has been invested into protecting Melbourne’s CBD after the deadly vehicular attack in 2017.
He told reporters on Saturday that he doesn’t believe anything else could have been done to stop this terrible incident.
Shocking footage of the aftermath shows one person laying at a tram stop and another on tram tracks as others rush to help them.
In the background, a person can be heard crying.
Blood spatters could be seen on the tram tracks in a separate clip, nearby a woman comforting an injured person.
In the clip, the man is pulled from the car by two officers who were on foot patrol in the area at the time, and held before he drops to the ground and is picked back up again.
Officers were then seen escorting him away from the scene.
In the clip, the man is buckled over and appears to stumble as two officers lead him across the road.
Witnesses told The Herald Sun that as the man was led away, several members of the public spat on him.
“People were angry at him, spitting on him,” she said.
Police have stressed there is no threat to the public.
They are asking anyone with dashcam footage or relevant information to come forward.