Blown tyre theory in fatal crash
By HELEN JACK
THE families of four teenagers who died in a car crash on Broken Head Road in October last year gathered in Lismore Children's Court yesterday to hear that a blown tyre could have been the cause of the accident.
A summary hearing in the court heard that the driver, now 18-years-old, of a white Commodore sedan which crashed along Broken Head Road killing its four passengers, told witnesses at the scene that a tyre had blown and he could not steer the car. The 18-year-old is charged with four counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.
In court witnesses said that moments before the accident the white Commodore overtook another car at double unbroken lines near the junction of Broken Head Reserve Road.
Dressed in a suit and sitting quietly, the 18-year-old kept his gaze averted as four witnesses gave their account of the events of October 21 last year.
But an argument broke out over who was to take the spare seat in the white Commodore.
The court heard that the other car, a red Commodore, had led the way down Broken Head Road. It was raining lightly.
Witnesses, who were all passengers in the red Commodore, told the court their vehicle had slowed to around 95km/h at the junction of Broken Head Beach Road. One witness said he looked out the back window and saw the white Commodore come flying up behind them overtaking on double unbroken lines.
"He was on the other side of the road on a bend. He was coming fast," the witness said.
"He would have been doing 140km/h."
One witness who was in the boot of the red Commodore at the time of the accident said he did not see the driver of the white Commodore drinking that day.
The witnesses told the court they lost sight of the white Commodore after it overtook them, but rounding another bend they saw a broken tree branch and broken glass littering the roadway.
"I saw the tail lights (of the white Commodore) in the ditch and I told (the driver of the red Commodore) to stop," said the witness.
Another witness said they all ran down to the wrecked car to find the teenager in the passenger seat still alive. "He was all right for a minute," he said.
"I checked the other boys, but they were gone."
ON ADVICE from the Department of Public Prosecutions, and from an independent legal advisor, we are unable to name the accused, the victims or the witnesses because the hearing is in the Children's Court. The hearing resumes today.