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Lawyers probe crash evidence

A POLICE officer has told an inquest into the deaths of four young people in a crash north of Warwick four years ago who he believes was behind the wheel of the car in which they were travelling.

Constable Grant Prendergast, who was one of the first officers on the scene on January 5, 2008, yesterday claimed Brett McKenzie was driving the Honda sedan in which he and Abby Ezzy, Max Thorley and Nick Nolan died when it was struck by a B-double just south of the Eight Mile.

In his evidence before State Coroner Tina Previtera, Const Prendergast stated that based on his observations of the scene he concluded Brett was the driver, contrary to suggestions at the time that it was Abby.

"Because of the way he was positioned - one of his feet was in the footwell of the vehicle," Const Prendergast said.

"And one leg was pointing in the direction of the footwell. What also led me to come to this conclusion was where the body of Abby Ezzy was found (outside the vehicle), meaning she would have been thrown from the passenger seat window," he said.

Under cross-examination by legal counsel for the McKenzie family, Const Prendergast denied the possibility his conclusion was flawed.

But another witness, Leah Reeves, stated that she saw Abby get into the driver's seat before the accident.

The inquest heard Ms Reeves was working at the Warwick BP service station on Albion St late on the night and said Brett and Abby came in to purchase a drink.

She said she was certain she saw Abby get into the driver's seat of the car, but could not recall seeing Brett get into the vehicle.

Peta McKenzie, Brett's mother, also claimed to recall Abby being the driver.

Wynnum man Trevor Graham, who was travelling in front of the vehicles involved in the accident, also testified. Mr Graham noticed a small vehicle behind him moments prior to the crash.

"It was that close at one stage I couldn't see the headlights," Mr Graham said.

He said it then backed away from his car and stopped on the roadside.

"It slowed, indicated to go left as if to pull off onto the side of the road, then it turned sharply to the right and stopped in the middle of the road," Mr Graham said.

"It was at that moment I saw the truck hit it."

Mr Graham said the truck driver did not appear to be alcohol or drug-affected.

The inquest will move into its fourth day today and is due to conclude tomorrow, but may resume next week as a number of witnesses are still to give evidence.


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