No explanation for boy?s death
By BELINDA SCOTT
ANN-MARGARET Kelso has spent this week trying to find out how her teenage son came to die after a fatal collision with a speeding train on Sunday.
Chad Kelso, 15, was walking south on the Coffs Creek railway bridge at 1am on Sunday, when he was hit by the northbound XPT passenger train.
The driver was unable to stop the train, which had been travelling at an estimated speed of about 70km/h, in time to avoid the teenager, who was clipped by the train and thrown off the bridge by the impact.
Ms Kelso and her partner, Neil Holmes, Chad's stepfather for the past 13 years, are numb from hours of conversations with police and the stress of making funeral arrangements.
Coffs Harbour coroner Tim Burns said yesterday it could be more than a month before the toxicology report, which is being done in Sydney, was completed. This report will show if Chad was affected by any alcohol or drugs.
"We'd like to have more answers," Mr Holmes said.
"We'd drilled it into him not to go up on the rail-lines. He's supposed to be home by midnight and he's normally pretty punctual ? except for Saturdays, they're the worst for him breaking curfew."
Ms Kelso agrees: "I wouldn't be able to sleep and it could be 2am or 3am before he got home."
Chad had lost two mobile phones and had been told he would have to save up himself for another.
On Sunday morning the police knocked on their door at 4am.
The news was 'a bombshell' Mr Holmes said quietly. They had been concerned he might be at the police station.
Ms Kelso said like most parents of teenagers, they had worried about drinking, drugs or fights, but had not thought of trains.
Ms Kelso said she had been told Chad had a fight with one of his mates at a beach party at the Jetty on Saturday night and was 'really miserable' as a result, with the last reported sighting being of him sitting on a bench looking unhappy.
They speculate Chad may have begun walking to another party rumoured to be at the northern end of Park Beach or Macauleys Headland, then he changed his mind, and decided to head home to Logwood Street, perhaps finding the fence too high and deciding to re-cross the bridge.
"He always went as the crow flies," Mr Holmes said.
"He would even cut across the neighbour's yard to get to town from home.
"But the train driver said he was walking south. I think he had turned around and was coming back, possibly coming home."
The couple said Chad was a good kid with a heart of gold.
"He was a little bit of a loner but he made it his job to see everyone he loved at least once a week," Ms Kelso said.
She said Chad had been easy going, very humorous, had loved a joke and like all teenagers had also loved loud music, with Blink 182 and Simple Plan among his favourite bands.
She said he had had lots of friends not only at school but in the wider community, and was really fun to be around if he was not pressured but was inclined to 'bite' if baited or teased.
Chad had recently got into a bad crowd and run into trouble, she said, but had subsequently 'done a big U-turn and was going really well'.
Sgt Graeme Kady of Coffs Harbour Police said he had visited the Jetty Foreshores and checked the ages of some people attending a beach party around the boat ramp about 10pm on Saturday.
He said those he spoke to had satisfactory ID and the party had dispersed but a party had apparently later moved further north along the foreshores, although there had been no trouble reported from that party.
Chad was the fifth child in his family. He is survived by five sisters and one brother ? his sister Bronwyn and step-sister Jade, both 20, step-sisters Kylie, 18 and Melissa, 16, half-brother Daniel, 9 and half-sister Jasmine, 6.