Authorities were questioning the 24-year-old Beaufort man from hospital, where he was receiving treatment. His daughter died after a red Nissan Micra slammed into a tree near Ballarat this afternoon. The little girl was rushed to the Ballarat Base Hospital after the crash on Remembrance Drive in Cardigan at about 2.30pm.

Ambulance Victoria said she was taken to hospital in a critical condition after being treated by paramedics. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

Major Collision Investigation Unit police detective Sergeant Mark Amos confirmed the driver was the girl’s father.

“The car was driving from Beaufort to Ballarat when the driver veered off the road and clipped one of the memorial plaques on the road, next to a tree,” he said.

“After this he collided head on to another tree which spun the car out onto the road. “As a result the four-year-old child who was sitting in the rear left of the car sustained really serious injuries.

“When police from the Ballarat Highway Patrol arrived the driver and passersby were attempting CPR out on the road.

“The police then attempted CPR and did everything they could. Ambulance transported the girl to hospital but she unfortunately died upon arrival.”

Excessive speed was not a cause of the accident, nor was mobile phone use.

“We will investigate if drugs and alcohol and fatigue and distractions came into this,” he said.

“This stretch of road is notoriously dangerous when you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.”

The 24-year-old man is in a relationship with the four-year-old daughter’s mother and they have another child together.

The crash happened on a straight stretch of the tree-lined road, about 100m from the intersection of Whites and Draffins roads.

The crash happened on Ballarat’s tree-lined “Avenue of Honour” — a 22km stretch of road and Australia’s first memorial of this nature paying respect to our Anzac troops.

The pitch black and desolate stretch of road was eerily lit by emergency lights at the scene.

Airbags had activated in the red Nissan, with its windscreen severely cracked, something the driver was lucky to walk away from.

Detectives were still at the scene of the fatality about 8pm before the wreckage was towed away.

“It’s just another day at the office,” one member of the collisions unit said. Oil covered the road as well as personal belongings including a green P-plate and a white pair of sunglasses.

There had been no visits from family or friends at the site at 8pm. The father was taken to hospital for observation. No charges have been laid.