Inquest reveals how Gore Hwy double fatality unfolded
A CORONIAL inquest has found a teenager had methylamphetamine in his system and reached speeds of 175km/h when he lost control of a stolen Holden Commodore and crashed into a tree.
The crash on the Gore Highway, north of Goondiwindi on April 21, 2018, instantly killed Rayshaun Carr and his 16-year-old passenger Jaylen Clark Close.
In the months after the crash, the families of Carr and Close alleged the teens were being pursued by police, or a second unknown driver.
In handing down her findings on August 27, Queensland Coroner Christine Clements said the inquest heard there was no evidence of a police pursuit or the use of stingers to slow the vehicle.
The findings also stated there was no evidence of bullet or taser wounds on the teens' bodies or firearms-related damage to the vehicle.
The court heard the Commodore was stolen from a Peregian Springs address on Friday, April 20, 2018.
It was observed on at least four occasions by police later that day.
The first was about 3.30pm when a Gatton police officer observed the car travelling about 130km/h, eastbound on the Warrego Highway toward Toowoomba.
The findings also stated the car was involved in at least three fuel drive-offs, at service stations in the Toowoomba and at Captains Mountain.
CCTV footage from these service stations confirmed Carr was the driver.
A toxicology report found Carr had a methylamphetamine toxicity of 0.19 mg/kg and Close had a toxicity of 0.66mg/kg.
Integral to the coroner's understanding of the crash was evidence given by Bradley Parker, a truck driver with more than 40 years' experience driving big rigs.
He told the court he saw a pale green Commodore speed past him on the Gore Highway about 15 minutes before the crash.
He was asked if another car followed immediately after he was overtaken by the vehicle.
He said "certainly not."
Nor did any emergency vehicles overtake him.
Toowoomba forensic crash investigator Sergeant Stephen Coote assessed the crash.
Sgt Coote told the inquest he had never seen a vehicle with so much crush damage, that it "was a mess" and clearly a "very high-speed crash".
Data from the vehicle's airbag module recorded it travelling about 175km/h before suddenly dropping to 156km/h, less than a second before the impact.
The court heard it was most likely the Commodore left the Gore Highway sometime between 1.15-1.30am on April 21.
It hit a tree, became airborne, and hit several other trees before coming to rest by the Wyaga Creek rest area, on the Gore Highway, 35 kilometres north of Goondiwindi.
Despite the ferocity of the crash it was not discovered until noon.
In handing down her findings, Ms Clements noted there were several aspects of the police investigation that "could have been handled better".
Key among them was the oversight of a nearby flood camera that would have dispelled concerns that police, or a second unknown motorist, contributed to crash.
Ms Clements also found the family's stress was elevated due to police, health and coronial procedures not recognising or attempting to accommodate cultural sensitivities.
She also recommended safety upgrades to the road, noting four crashes at the Wyaga Creek Crossing, including a double fatality.