Truck driver could not avoid crash

IT STARTED out like any other Saturday night.

A few cold brews with friends, a birthday celebration and a night to make memories.

But what separated this night from the rest, was the tragedy that struck at 11.21pm on January 5, 2008, when a different kind of memory was forced into the minds of all who bare witness.

The kind of memory you would not wish upon your worst enemy and the kind to crack even the coldest of hearts.

At 11.21pm, Brett McKenzie, Abby Ezzy, Nick Nolan and Max Thorley were killed in an horrific traffic crash when their Honda sedan was struck by a B-double near the Eight Mile intersection.

At 11.21pm, a hole was ripped through many Warwick hearts, leaving families in despair and with lists of unanswered questions.

And at 11.21pm, a memory was made that will forever scar friends and families of those involved.

Brett, a football-mad, fishing enthusiast with the "heart of an ox" adored his girlfriend Abby, a bubbly, focussed and beautiful young woman.

Nick Nolan - a horseman of the highest order. He shone in the saddle and on the footy field and in the social scene, and devoted to his large family.

And Max Thorley, the loveable larrikin and life of the party.

An inquest into the deaths of these four popular youngsters commenced on February 14 this year, when Coroner Tina Previtera heard from lawyers and experts to help her in compiling her findings.

Witnesses, friends, family members, police officers, medical professionals and experts shared their knowledge and recounts of the events of the night during a week-long inquest.

Questions that needed answers, such as who was driving the vehicle, what role truck driver Greg Welsh played in the crash, the position of the car on impact, police conduct and whether alcohol was a contributing factor, were investigated in great depth.

Coroner Previtera presented her findings yesterday and said she believed Brett to be the driver.

She said Mr Welsh had no way of avoiding the collision and made no indication that she found him to have been intoxicated or speeding.

She made no reference in her remarks to any toxicology reports which may or may not have indicated the consumption of alcohol of any of the four.

The friends' Honda sedan was hit on the driver's side and it was suspected they were making a U-turn when hit by the truck.

Coroner Previtera said she would not be reporting any police to a higher body for conduct evaluation.

Her full report is expected to go online on the State Coroner's website in the next few weeks.


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