Truck driver sheds new light on horror crash
THE truck driver overtaken by a Queensland mum moments before her car smashed killing herself and her four children has shed new light on the horror crash.
In a Facebook comment seen by news.com.au, the driver claimed mum-of-four Charmaine McLeod was not driving dangerously before her car crashed on May 27.
The incident, on a rural road in Queensland's South Burnett region, instantly killed Ms McLeod and three of her children and was only witnessed by two truck drivers.
One of Ms McLeod's daughters was freed from the family's Nissan station wagon by one of the two brave drivers, who battled flames to try to save her, but the girl died on her way to hospital.
Police initially said Ms McLeod, 35, and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2, died after the mum was trying to overtake a truck.
But according to the driver, Ms McLeod had already passed him before the crash.
"I must clear something up that is unfair on this poor family," the driver said.
"This poor mother was not overtaking me, absolutely nothing in my witness statement suggests she was overtaking me. I was right behind her and although I won't discuss anything I saw with anyone other than the detective in charge, I will not let this family think she overtook me dangerously. She did not. Fact."
Homicide detectives were called in late last week to join the specialist crash team with police revealing last week they were investigating the crash as a potential murder-suicide.
Police also found Ms McLeod's handbag 200m back from the horrific scene, believed to have contained a note penned by the mum-of-four, according to The Courier-Mail.
The family's car burst into flames just before a crest on the highway near Kingaroy, causing the truck to ignite too.
"It's just not right that the families who are going through hell will spend the rest of their lives thinking those kids died because their mother overtook dangerously," the truck driver said.
"I can't talk about the impact in front of me, but I can say she overtook me very safely. What happened in front of me few dozen metres later is up to the experts to determine."
Queensland Police said today it would be months before the cause of the crash was known.
Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said it would take some time before the truth was known.
"I don't expect that investigation to conclude very quickly," he said today.
"It will be some months before the final conditions of that crash and the circumstances that led to that tragedy are concluded by the coroner."
Ms McLeod posted on social media late last year that she had been struggling with "significant mental health issues" and had been dealing with Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.
"We feel alone and lost," Ms McLeod wrote in a Facebook post, referring to herself and her children.
The death of any child known to the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women is examined by the independent Child Death Case Review Panel as part of a two-tiered review process.
The five deaths were part of a horror week on Queensland roads, with 16 fatalities prompting the state government to review its road safety messages.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he would examine how safety campaigns might be changed to better address the main cause of road fatalities: risky and distracted driving.
"When you have a week of 16 Queenslanders dying then I think it's our responsibility to see what we can do better," he told ABC radio.
Mr Keating said engaging with regional road users would be a priority for police this year.
"We do see a lot of complacency on regional roads, people thinking I know the area, I know where I'm going and they're not as attuned on occasions to what they should be doing and how they should be doing it," he said.
A community memorial will be held in Kingaroy tonight to honour those who have died.
Seven of those who died on Queensland roads last week died in the South Burnett region.
Queensland Police declined news.com.au's request to respond to the driver's comments.