Broken Head driver 'speeding before crash'
A POLICE woman with 20 years’ experience choked with emotion as she described the remains of the car in which Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh, Paul Morris and Bryce Wells died on October 22, 2006.
Senior Constable Rachelle Adams was in the witness box during the first day of evidence in the trial of the young driver of the car that crashed on Broken Head Road at Broken Head.
The driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death.
Snr Const Adams was then a crash investigator with Ballina police, but her voice cracked yesterday when she tried to describe what she saw on that rainy night at 1.30am.
Asked by the Crown prosecutor if the crash scene had traumatised her and still affected her, Snr Const Adams answered: “Yes.”
Reading from a statement, Snr Const Adams told the court she saw the white 1993 Holden Commodore seven metres below a steep embankment.
She said the car had hit a tree. Its front passenger side had crumpled as it ploughed into the tree, creasing the bonnet, smashing the windscreen and pushing the passenger door and pillar to the rear of the car. The roof and front passenger door were peeled back.
Snr Const Adams said the car left the road and became airborne 420 metres south of the Broken Head Road and Broken Head Reserve Road junction. Tyre tracks by the road suggested the driver had not braked before the crash.
In his opening address to the jury the Crown prosecutor said the ultimate question in the trial was if the car’s driver was driving dangerously and, if so, was he driving in an aggravated manner.
He said the driver had reached more than 45km/h over the 80km/h speed limit .
Boys in another car had reported being passed by the Commodore on a section of road with unbroken double lines and estimated its speed at up to 115km/h.
The prosecutor said the Commodore’s driver had got his licence only three months before the crash.
Two weeks after the crash the driver told police through his solicitor that he had been driving at the speed limit.
Defence barrister Chris Bruce told the jury the prosecution’s case relied on evidence of the boys from the other car, who had been drinking alcohol and taking drugs on the day of the accident.
Mr Bruce said the speed limit had been reduced to 80km/h only weeks before the accident, and the drivers of both cars had believed at the time the speed limit was still 100km/h.
Mr Bruce said the Commodore had problems with its suspension and that its tyres were poorly fitted, allowing it to aquaplane on the wet road.
Speaking outside the court Bryce Wells’ father, Rob, said there needed to be tougher laws for P-platers.
“It’s not right to let a young person, who can’t vote, get themselves in this situation,” he said.
The trial continues on Monday with the jury visiting the scene of the accident in the morning and evidence continuing in the afternoon.