News Crime Police arrest Porsche driver who fled crash that killed four officers

Police arrest Porsche driver who fled crash that killed four officers

driver police freeway crash
Emergency services at the crash scene in Melbourne's Kew on Thursday morning. Photo: AAP
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Police have arrested the driver of a speeding Porsche involved in Wednesday’s horror crash that killed four officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.

Victoria Police announced at 11am on Thursday that they had located the 41-year-old driver, who fled the scene of the deadly crash.

“He is currently being spoken to by police and is assisting homicide squad detectives in relation to the investigation,” a Victoria Police statement said.

“The investigation into the exact cause of the collision remains ongoing.”

Four officers – three men and a woman – died on Wednesday after a semi-trailer ploughed into them while they were interviewing the Porsche driver in the freeway’s emergency lane about 5.40pm.

Earlier, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the driver was alleged to have taken photos of the crash scene before he ran away, and had uploaded them to social media. Mr Ashton urged people not to share the photos.

“There have been some images placed on Facebook that appear to have been taken by this individual at the scene, before he has left the scene,” he said.

“Some of those photographs were circulating last night online.

“We are talking to Facebook this morning about removing them.”


Posted by Victoria Police on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The accident happened after the officers pulled the Porsche driver over for speeding on the freeway. Two constables and two senior constables were questioning him in the emergency lane when the refrigerated truck ploughed them, killing all four.

Mr Ashton said the Porsche driver had tested positive for “some type of drug” after the officers stopped him.

He said the truck was travelling at 100km/h and hit a police car so hard it spun across the lanes of the freeway, coming to a stop in the nature strip between the inbound and outbound lanes.

The truck driver remains in hospital under police guard. Police have searched his home in outer Melbourne, and hope to interview him on Thursday.

Mr Ashton said the truck driver suffered a medical episode after the crash, “which seemed to involve him blacking out”.

He has non-life-threatening injuries.

Flags were flying at half-mast across Victoria on Thursday in honour of the female senior constable, male senior constable and two male constables, one of whom recently joined the force.

“The whole force is reeling this morning, from the events of last night,” Mr Ashton said.

Trevor, a cousin of one of the dead officers and who drives a truck similar to the one in the crash, told Melbourne radio 3AW he was shocked by the tragedy.

“It hasn’t hit home yet, but the job they do, I don’t think is respected enough,” he said.

Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said he hoped “we never have another day like this”.

“Make no mistake, whilst this incident occurred in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the ripple effect was within minutes felt in far-flung regions of the state,” he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews asked all Victorians to pause and honour Victoria Police officers for the work they do.

“To live a life in the service of others is a deeply impressive thing. To lose your life in the service and protection of others is a tragedy,” Mr Andrews.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the tragedy was a reminder of “the dangers that you face every single day.”

“You step up every day, you stand between us and that danger every single day and we are deeply grateful for your service.”

More than $37,000 has been raised towards the $2 million target for the families of the deceased police officers via a GoFundMe page.

The freeway remained closed for several kilometres in both directions on Thursday afternoon. Police asked motorists to avoid the area.

-with agencies