Road closed jurors inspect site of fatal crash

IT RAINED on October 22, 2006, as it did yesterday.

And it was in the same conditions the jury deciding the fate of a young man, whose car crashed at midnight on that date, visited the scene of the accident on Broken Head Road, near Suffolk Park.

The road was closed to traffic for two hours in the middle of the day yesterday as the 12-person jury, accompanied by the Crown prosecutor in the case, defence team of Ralph James and barrister Chris Bruce, and District Court Judge Colin Charteris, walked the road where Mitchell Eveleigh, Paul Morris, Bryce Wells and Corey New died.

The trial began last Monday, and is expected to run for another two weeks. The driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated dangerous driving.

Before going to the scene, the Crown prosecutor told jurors they would hear evidence the speed zone along that stretch of road was changed from 100km/h to 80km/h on September 19, 2006, nearly one month before the accident. He said the 80km/h speed signs were located 250 metres south of Clifford Street, Suffolk Park.

“It was subsequently realised these signs were put in the wrong place and the 80km/h signs were moved to their correct location, which is their current location,” the Crown prosecutor said.

He said the signs were moved after the accident.

“There is no doubt the speed zone there was 80km/h as of October 22, 2006,” he said.

Jurors were told a roadside memorial built at the scene was erected at the second tree, which the car hit after it crashed into and snapped the first tree.

On hitting the second tree, the car spun and fell down the embankment coming to rest beside a disused well.

Jurors drove the road several times yesterday, stopping to walk on bitumen where the car overtook the other vehicle and where it collided with the trees.

On the jury's return to court at 3pm, evidence continued with Snr Const Rachelle Adams, of Lismore, returning to the stand to describe photographs she had taken during her investigation.

The photographs showed the wreck of the car and the path it travelled through a grass verge nearly parallel with the roadway and into a grove of trees. The trial continues today.

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