The driver of a truck that allegedly crashed into four police officers will face a Melbourne court on Monday, charged with dangerous driving.
The 47-year-old Cranbourne man was charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death, Victoria Police said on Monday morning.
The charges were laid following a joint investigation by the major collision investigation unit and the homicide squad.
Considered the most serious traffic offence in Victoria, a culpable driving conviction carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The driver, who has not been officially named, allegedly veered into the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway at 100km/h and killed Senior Constables Lynette Taylor and Kevin King, and Constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney on Wednesday.
The officers had been dealing with a Porsche driver, who had tested positive to a roadside drug test, when they were allegedly struck by the refrigerated truck.
The truck driver remained under police guard in a hospital until Sunday due to suffering a medical episode immediately after Wednesday’s horrific crash.
That night, police raided his home but are yet to reveal what they found. Last Thursday they said only that “what was found at that premises is still the subject of ongoing investigation”.
The driver remains in custody on remand and will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
Porsche driver Richard Pusey, 41, has been charged with nine offences, including driving at a dangerous speed, reckless conduct endangering life, failing to render assistance and drug possession. He will appear in court in July.
‘… Has taken our breath away’
The parents of Constable Prestney, the youngest of the four killed, released a statement on Saturday describing their son, who graduated as a policeman only in December.
A bright light who was “creative, insightful, loving and genuine”, he had many talents and interests, including a love of music, playing the guitar, distance running and cycling, Andrew and Belinda Prestney said.
Constable Prestney was an avid Collingwood Football Club supporter and loved basketball and the LA Lakers. He had a bachelor of creative industries management and had worked at Melbourne bike shops Fitzroy Cycles and Canyon Bikes.
But he found his calling with Victoria Police after seeing how much his younger brother Alex loved the job.
“The proudest moment of our lives was when Alex presented Josh with his badge at the graduation ceremony in December last year,” Mr and Mrs Prestney wrote.
“We cannot fathom the circumstances that have led us to this point.”
Their second son Alex, only 18 months younger, had lost his best friend and Constable Prestney’s partner Stacey had lost her “angel”, they said.
“They were perfect for one another and had made plans for their future together,” the parents wrote.
“Our heart bleeds for her.”
The parents said they were broken.
“The thought of never hearing his guitar playing throughout the house, never sharing our sporting adventures together again, never going to the football with him again, never laughing over silly family jokes with him again breaks our hearts and fills us with a pain that has taken our breath away.”