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Qld coroner to probe island road dangers

AAP logoAAP 5/10/2016 Alexandra Patrikios

Residents of a Queensland island where a 14-year-old skateboarder was fatally struck by a car have asked a coroner to investigate whether the local council's inaction has contributed to other deaths.

Ethan Stephenson died about 100 metres from his Russell Island home after he was hit by a drunk driver travelling down Centre Road on June 7, 2014.

Counsel assisting Peter De Waard told a pre-inquest conference on Wednesday that 15 concerned citizens informed Brisbane coroner John Hutton about other deaths, serious injuries and near-misses due "to a lack of council action".

"As a result of Ethan's death ... they have been calling on the Redlands City Council for years to do something about the lack of adequate pedestrian footpaths and street lighting on Centre Road and on the island in general," Mr De Waard said.

He said the council, with the exception of one incident, claims it had no knowledge of deaths, serious injuries and near-misses of pedestrians on the island.

However, the conference also heard the council had a record of a request for lighting on Centre Road in 2007 as well as one for line markings on the same stretch in 2013.

At the time of Ethan's death, Mr De Waard said the sealed bitumen road had no dividing line marks, no footpaths on either side and poor street lighting.

He said action had been taken since the teen died but a site visit would be necessary to inspect changes before the inquest that is expected to run over two days in December.

The conference also heard witnesses recalled seeing the driver swerving before hitting the boy and estimated his Toyota Landcruiser was travelling more than 100km/h on the 60 km/h stretch of road.

George Holford, the driver who struck Ethan, pleaded guilty to drink driving and dangerous driving causing death offences.

He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison, to serve nine months actual jail time, in September 2015.

Holford and his former spouse are expected to give evidence at the inquest, along with a Redlands City Council employee.

Mr De Waard said another key issue the inquest would investigate was the capacity of the island to conduct drug tests after hours.

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