FAREWELL: Wide Bay Forensic Crash Unit Sergeant Steve Webb will hang his hat for the last time on May 31.
FAREWELL: Wide Bay Forensic Crash Unit Sergeant Steve Webb will hang his hat for the last time on May 31. Jim Alouat

Loved police crash investigator is getting ready to retire

STEVE Webb's phone rings and the voice asks how he is.

They say there is a job and they ask how long it will take to get there.

Steve asks, "How many are dead?"

He slips out of bed, puts on his uniform and drives to the crash.

For the past 26 years Sergeant Steve Webb has worked in the Forensic Crash Unit at various locations, but most recently, in Maryborough.

Steve has been assaulted, spat at, shot at, kicked in the gonads, punched in the face and had two black eyes, a split lip and a cracked rib.

But as he reflects on his career with his retirement looming, it's the more than the 500 fatal car crashes and gruesome crime scenes he has attended that sticks with him.

"In September last year a little girl was killed going to Bundaberg," Steve said.

"When you have to sit on the side of the road with that little girl lying there, with her family crying around her, you have no idea.

"I sat with that family for about half an hour explaining what was going to happen in the investigation, and they were just sitting there holding her hand.

"It was bloody awful and that's why I get so frustrated."

 

HARSH REALITY: (From left) Snr Const Adrian Edge, Sgt Steve Webb and volunteers in policing Katherine Webb in front of the crashed car in Maryborough.
HARSH REALITY: (From left) Snr Const Adrian Edge, Sgt Steve Webb and volunteers in policing Katherine Webb in front of the crashed car in Maryborough. Eliza Wheeler

Steve and his team are frank about death.

They have spoken to thousands of school children about what they have seen at crash sites and the consequences of making a terrible decision while driving.

"We talk to the kids and we tell 'em straight," he said.

"They cry, and they walk out, but they come back.

"But hey, they're the facts of the matter - young people die on the roads."

Steve has also seen positive changes in the police force, but it come from an unmeasurable loss.

At 1.15pm on April 5, 2001, Steve was first on the scene of a fatal crash between a police motorcycle and a truck.

It was the intersection of Logan Rd and Brandl St, Eight Mile Plains.

His colleague and good friend Senior Constable David Shean was killed.

"I investigated his death, I was the first on the scene and I knew Dave.

"As a result, we got a lot of changes to the current police motorcycle fleet.

"They now how traction control and ABS brakes.

"We got changes to the equipment police motorcyclists wear, and we also got changes to police motorcycle training and re-qualification every 12 or two years.

"So that came out of Dave Shean's death, but it was a bloody long slog, it was a hard slog, we lived it for a long time." +

 

Katherine Webb receives some police assistance from her father, Sergeant Steve Webb, to shave her head for Shave for a Cure.
Katherine Webb receives some police assistance from her father, Sergeant Steve Webb, to shave her head for Shave for a Cure. Valerie Horton

Although Steve has thoroughly enjoyed his career and the friends he made, he said it's time to let go.

And when he walks away, he will walk away from all of it.

"Life goes on and the job goes on.

"That's why in this job I wear a name tag and it says Sergeant 5275 Officer in Charge, because I am a number, and I'm replaceable.

"I have a really good team here and they do a good job and they will continue to do so.

"Now I am going to do what I want to do."

Steve plans to volunteer at the Maryborough Military Museum, travel, go fishing and tinker with some old cars.

After a decade at Maryborough Police Station and almost 50 years in uniform, Steve will hang his hat for the last time on May 31.



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