Trial for triple fatal crash on Princes Highway begins for young student driver

A 17-year-old boy with autism is on trial in South Australian Youth Court for a triple fatality on Princes Highway in the southeastern state.

Millicent residents Ned and Nan Walker and their daughter Sue Skeer died in the head-on collision in Suttontown on Nov. 28, 2020.

The boy – who was 16 at the time of the accident – has admitted three times that he was not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Aimee Winra described the crash as a “catastrophic tragedy” in her opening statement on Tuesday.

She told the court that the teen, who had a student driver’s license, had “thought about school” and was “not focused” when he drifted into the other lane and collided with the oncoming car.

Ms Winra said the boy’s “gross inattention” led to the crash.

Two car wrecks on the side of a road
Three people were killed in the accident on the Princes Highway in November 2020. ABC news

The court learned that the teenager was taking medication at the time that made it difficult for him to concentrate.

Ms Winra told the court that the boy may have “sung out” while the car was on cruise control, but he had braked in the seconds before the crash.

A group of women walking out of a brick building
Relatives of Ned and Nan Walker and Sue Skeer will leave court on Tuesday.ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside

Error ‘fixed immediately’

The boy’s attorney, Bill Boucaut, QC, said the drifting in the wrong lane was “as extreme” and was “immediately remedied by the defendant’s mother”, who was supervising.

Five witnesses testified on the first day of the trial, including the boy’s aunt, who was in the car at the time of the accident.

An elderly man in a brown-brimmed hat in front of a tent at sunset stands smiling next to an elderly woman in glasses.
Ned and Nan Walker were killed in an accident on Princes Highway near Mount Gambier. Delivered: Jacqui Verbena

She told the court that it was the oncoming car, driven by Nan Walker, who was on the wrong side of the road.

She said “it happened so fast” and she “didn’t see them” [the oncoming car] until they got there”.

“They have attacked us,” she said.

The judge will visit the scene of the accident on Wednesday.

The trial is expected to be completed on Friday.

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