Community hit by triple tragedy
THE DEATHS of three young men in Thursday night's fatal collision at Ewingsdale have sent shock waves through the North Coast.
Family and friends of Todd Hepner, 25 of Mullumbimby, Jarah Blackett, 22, and Byron Nicholson, 23, both of Ocean Shores, were reeling yesterday as they struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.
The three men died when a southbound B-double truck smashed into their Subaru Liberty sedan at 8.15pm as they were attempting to enter the Pacific Highway from Woodford Lane about a kilometre north of the Byron Bay interchange.
Frustrated police at the crash scene were at a loss to explain the carnage.
“It is unbelievable to have accidents like this on a world-class, divided, multi-lane freeway,” said Acting Inspector Bill Darnell, the Northern Region traffic coordinator.
Tweed Byron Acting Superintendent Owen King said yesterday the tragedy had also taken its toll on police officers who were first on the scene and knew the victims. He added counselling would be provided.
Supt King said the truck driver was ‘extremely shaken' and had told them there was absolutely nothing he could do to avoid the collision.
It is the second triple fatality in the Tweed Byron command in as many months and the second involving an L-plater.
Police have confirmed the 23-year-old driver was an L-plater who may have failed to heed a give way sign at the intersection.
The force of the impact killed the driver and back seat passenger instantly.
The front seat passenger was found unconscious but still breathing by motorists but he died shortly after.