A driver involved in a horror Boxing Day crash that killed three people, including himself, and critically injured two sisters was reportedly a serial traffic offender.
The driver, named as Craig Anthony Whitall, 50, reportedly had a long criminal history of more than 60 offences, was a known drug user and was on his P-plates, sources told The Daily Telegraph on Friday.
Witnesses who pulled the sisters from the burning wreckage after the crash near Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast, said they saw the driver on the wrong side of the road on at least two occasions.
Australian actor Jessica Falkholt, 28, and her sister Annabelle, 21, were critically injured in the fiery crash that killed their parents, from the Sydney suburb of Ryde, and Mr Whitall.
Mr Whitall, 50, a grandfather and father of two, was reportedly “well known” to police in his NSW hometown of Ulladulla according to The Daily Telegraph.
The paper reported Mr Whitall had been jailed for driving while disqualified and had only recently got his licence back when the crash occurred.
As both sisters remain in critical conditions in Liverpool and St George Hospitals and a report is prepared for the state coroner, questions will now focus on how Mr Whitall’s licence was reinstated after such a poor driving record.
In a Facebook message on Thursday, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, Traffic & Highway Patrol Commander with NSW Police, said high-risk drivers “are not welcome on our roads”.
“Drivers who drive at double the speed limit, drive whilst disqualified, or drunk at the wheel are among those who are simply not welcome on our roads.
“Sadly, too many innocent people have died because of the irresponsible and reckless actions of others, and it has to stop.
“The community has had enough and so have we,” he said.
Meanwhile, a man understood to be Mr Whittall’s son, Shane Whittall, posted on Facebook just hours after the crash.
“I love you with all my heart dad and will forever miss you you were my hero I don’t give a f*** what anyone says you showed me a lot in my life more than youl (sic) ever know its such a tragedy to loose (sic) you I LOVE YOU DAD RIP,” Shane posted.
Messages of love and support flood in
Jessica Falkholt, a graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Art who has played a role in Home and Away and appeared in other Australian TV shows, was travelling with her family when their vehicle was involved in the crash with a four-wheel drive.
The Seven Network said the Home and Away family was sending their love and support to the actress and her sister.
“Although her time on set was brief, once a part of the Home and Away family, always part of the family,” a spokesman said.
In a Twitter post, fellow Home and Away actor Jackson Heywood urged everyone to “please drive safe these holidays”.
Can we please send all our support, love and prayers to Jess and her sister Annabelle, fighting for their lives after their car crash on boxing day. Much love darlin. I’m with ya. May u both make a full recovery. I cannot stress enough to please drive safe over the hols. Love ya. pic.twitter.com/7CsaUFJuX9
— Jackson Heywood (@jacksonheywoody) December 27, 2017
“Can we please send all our support, love and prayers to Jess and her sister Annabelle.
“Much love darlin. I’m wit ya.”
Heartbreaking and devastating news for everyone. Please pray for Jessica & Annabelle. 💙 https://t.co/KQSTr7YThS
— James Stewart (@__jamesstewart_) December 27, 2017