News

Police will allow teen driver time to grieve sister

Forensic crash investigator Sergeant Steve Webb inspects the wreck of a Nissan Navara ute which crashed killing 14-year-old Ophelia Silcox.
Forensic crash investigator Sergeant Steve Webb inspects the wreck of a Nissan Navara ute which crashed killing 14-year-old Ophelia Silcox.

POLICE will wait for 'the right time' to interview 15-year-old unlicensed driver Curtsie Silcox about the crash which killed her younger sister Ophelia.

The Child Investigation and Protection Unit is examining the horror crash, where Ophelia, 14, was the front seat passenger in a ute driven by her underage sister when it slid off a dirt road and into a tree. Ophelia was killed instantly.

Police will compile a report for the coroner.

But Maryborough District Acting Inspector Troy Pukallus said police wouldn't rush the investigation, as they wanted to give the Silcox family time to grieve.

The teenage girls, who are home-schooled, were at their Gundiah property on Wednesday when they took their parent's work ute on the ill-fated joyride.

They had ridden their horses down to the Gundiah Pub for a coke that morning and when they returned home, according to their mum Terri, just "thought they'd go for a drive."

Insp Pukallus said that kids who grew up on rural properties often began driving at a young age.

"As a family they probably think the community is judging them," he said.

"Basically the girls have made a decision, a poor one in hindsight, to take the car for a drive.

"It is just something kids do."

The crash occurred about six kilometres from their home, on Paterson Rd, Paterson.

"She obviously had some knowledge of driving the vehicle," Insp Pukallus said.

"Growing up on a property, she may have driven that vehicle before."

Police believe the crash was the result of driver inexperience and road conditions.

He said while the ute was not believed to be speeding at the time it left the road, a more experienced driver might have had greater control.

"As your (driving) experience grows you get to know your limits.

"Kids never know their limits, that's why they engage in risk-taking behaviour.

"I'd say maybe the speed exceeded her capabilities."

He said emergency crews who attended the scene found it confronting.

"Pretty much everyone there was a middle-aged male with family.

"I've got two girls a little bit younger, but not much, so it really hit home for me.

"It's a terrible, tragic incident."

Topics:  fatal crash ophelia silcox police



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