The tragic scene which greeted emergency workers on the Pacific Highway near Arrawarra on Saturday morning.
The tragic scene which greeted emergency workers on the Pacific Highway near Arrawarra on Saturday morning.

DOUBLE TRAGEDY

By CRAIG McTEAR

A HORROR weekend on Coffs Coast roads has claimed the lives of two men, one of whom was a long-serving policeman.

The first smash happened on Sawtell Road at Toormina on Friday at 11.55pm.

A Sawtell man, 32, was driving east in a Ford Fairlane at an unknown speed and was 200 metres east of Wirrabilla Drive when he lost control, hit a gutter and left the road.

The car rolled before hitting concrete pipes, a power pole, a tree and a brick wall.

The passenger, a Toormina man, 37, was flung from the vehicle and suffered multiple injuries. He died in hospital on Saturday.

Police said the driver had fled from the accident scene, but he was later found at a Sawtell address.

He was taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, where he was treated for minor injuries and later released.

Police were yesterday not releasing the dead man's name.

Queensland Detective Sergeant Stewart Kerlin, 42, was killed in a three-vehicle smash on the Pacific Highway north of Arrawarra on Saturday.

Sgt Kerlin, a father-of-two, and his travelling companion, Detective Senior Constable Paul Meese, 43, were in NSW as part of an ongoing inquiry with Taskforce Argos, which investigates the exploitation of children.

Sgt Kerlin was driving their unmarked police car, a Mitsubishi sedan, south on the Pacific Highway at 10am when all hell broke loose.

It appears Sgt Kerlin slowed to avoid an object ? believed to be a rake ? on the road when a Kenworth semi-trailer travelling behind clipped the car.

The impact sent the police car spinning into the path of an oncoming Toyota Prado four-wheel-drive, which was towing a caravan.

Const. Meese sustained head injuries and was treated at hospital, where he remained in a serious but stable condition yesterday.

The Toyota driver, a 61-year-old Queenslander, suffered minor injuries, while his 62-year-old female passenger sustained a fractured sternum and fractured ribs.

They were also taken to hospital, where the woman remained in a serious but stable condition yesterday.

The truckie, a 31-year-old from Taree, and his female passenger, 24, also from Taree, were not hurt.

The highway was closed for six hours, with alternative routes put in place for motorists.

Sgt Kerlin had served with Queensland police for more than 20 years.



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