Rodney at age 15; as a member of the Maryborough Athletics Club he won the Laurie Baartz Award in his age group, a first for Maryborough at the time.
Rodney at age 15; as a member of the Maryborough Athletics Club he won the Laurie Baartz Award in his age group, a first for Maryborough at the time.

Son tragically taken from family

ROBERT Walker has no idea why his son Rodney let a 16-year-old boy drive his car along Seven Mile Road, Tinana, on Saturday afternoon.

He has no idea why the 16-year-old boy lost control of the car and has no idea why his 21-year-old son was tragically taken from him.

But one thing he does know is that he never wants to see anything like it happen again.

“Rodney was always a sensible driver,” Mr Walker said.

“Police have told us speed wasn’t a factor in the accident but we know that if Rodney was driving this wouldn’t have happened.

“It was a tragic accident ... but let it be a warning to other young people.”

Police say Rodney died when the sedan he and four teenage boys were travelling in careered off Seven Mile Road and slammed into a tree at 5pm.

Rodney’s devastated family, friends and footy team-mates will say their final goodbyes to the aspiring athlete “who just loved life” at his funeral tomorrow.

His four friends – one aged 15 and three aged 16 – are unlikely to be able to attend. They are all recovering in hospital.

“Rodney loved his athletics and his footy,” Faye Sommerfield, Rodney’s grandmother, said.

“He used to take his footy everywhere ... we used to joke that he’d go to sleep with it.

“He had a heart of gold and put his heart into everything he did.”

Former Maryborough Bears Aussie rules coach Corey Goldie described Rodney, a former Aldridge High student, as a “genuine, honest kid” whose death was “totally and utterly devastating”.

“He was just one of those characters that was always there in the background – he never wanted to be the centre of attention.

“He was never blessed with the most ability but you couldn’t doubt his heart. He always gave 100 per cent.”

Ross and Eileen Gundry from the Maryborough Bears have been organising a fundraiser for the Walker family and the family of the two teenage boys recovering from serious injuries in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

They plan to run a giant raffle at the club’s Granville fields at noon on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Forensic Crash Unit has been investigating the accident and, as part of the investigation, will run mechanical checks on Rodney’s car.



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