A father who died alongside his partner and four young daughters in a horror road smash in the Northern Territory was a repeat drink driver who failed to put kids in seat belts.
Desert council ranger, 34, his partner and their daughters aged from one to nine years were driving in their Mitsubishi Pajero when it veered into the path of a triple road train on Friday afternoon.
Their vehicle containing the six from Lajamanu – a remote Indigenous community halfway between Daring and Alice Springs – exploded into a fireball which burned for more than five hours and left little human remains.
The couple’s Mitsubishi Pajero was travelling north on the Stuart Highway when it veered into the path of a road train, erupting into a fireball which burnt for more than five hours
The father who has been working as a ranger for eight years and performed as a traditional Indigenous dancer, had four drink driving convictions – two medium range and two high range – going back to 2014.
He was charged with driving children around without being restrained properly thee times between 2014 and 2021. He was also caught driving four times while disqualified, driving an uninsured and unregistered motor vehicle, and breaching bail.
At the time of his death, he was facing charges of domestic violence and aggravated assaulted relating to February this year.
The family was travelling at Pine Creek near Katherine south of Darwin at about 4.40pm on Friday when it veered into the southbound lane of the Stuart Highway and into the path of a triple road train loaded with produce, cars and fuel .
A friend said the deceased sisters were ‘all tiny tots which makes this all the harder’, and that the ‘devastated’ community of Lajamanu had been holding traditional ceremonies for the family ‘at this dreadful time’.
T Police said that they weren’t ruling out out ‘ alcohol , fatigue or domestic violence’ as reasons for the smash
Family and friends are reeling from the enormity of the tragedy, posting about their heartbreak and warning about drink driving
As relatives and friends posted emotional messages on Facebook and one warned of the dangers of drink driving, hundreds of mourners converged on Lajamanu and surrounds in coming days for ‘sorry camps’.
The community is still reeling from the recent deaths of two adults in a car crash on the Buntine Highway near the Victoria River, 150km north of Lajamanu.
‘They just finished sorry business for that. Now they are starting all over again but especially for the girls all aged under 10. Just devastating,’ the friend said.
One onlooker told Nine News that when the road train driver ‘tried to help the family… he had just got away with his life, I’ll never forget the look on his face’.
NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said police had ‘never seen anything like’ the scale of the accident.
‘While we call it an accident, it’s not really an accident,’ he said.
“There’s some sort of element involved that could contribute to that whether it’s mechanical, it could be road surface, it could be roadway, human.’
Police don’t believe there was any wrongdoing by the truck driver, who was travelling with a co-driver.
‘They have a number of injuries but the psychological injuries they’ll carry for the rest of their lives,’ Cr Murphy said.
Road train company Shaw’s Transport issues a statement saying: ‘Our sympathy and condolences are offered to the family and friends of those who lost their lives
‘It is expected (the truck drivers’) injuries will heal over time and we are arranging support counselling for them and their families.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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