Family and friends have gathered for the funerals of four young children who passed away in a car crash in Queensland, Australia. They died along with their 35-year-old mother, Charmaine McLeod.
Small white coffins carrying the bodies of the children, 2-year-old Zaidok, 4-year-old Wyatt, 5-year-old Matilda, and 6-year-old Aelyn, were topped with their photos during the service. Hundreds of mourners attended the service at Urraween Crematorium.
Their mother, Charmaine, also passed away when her car collided with a truck on the Bunya Highway. The accident is being treated as a suspected murder-suicide.
The father spent time alone with his children’s coffins before the funeral started. A separate service was to be held for the mother.
The order of service stated: “There are no footprints so small that they do not leave an impact on this world. All children are miracles, even the ones who didn’t stay long.”
The 47-year-old truck driver was injured when he managed to jump out and tried to help the family from their burning vehicle.
Mark, the driver of another truck which the mother overtook before the accident said that he also tried to help the family but the vehicle suddenly burst into flames.
“’I was right behind her and although I won’t discuss anything I saw with anyone other than the detective in charge, I will not let this family think she overtook me dangerously. She did not. Fact,” Mark wrote on social media.
“It’s just not right that the families who are going through hell will spend the rest of their lives thinking those kids died because their mother overtook dangerously,” he added. “I can’t talk about the impact in front of me, but I can say she overtook me very safely.
“What happened in front of me few dozen metres later is up to the experts to determine.”
Charmaine’s family said they would donate over $5,000 to the two truck drivers involved.
“We have decided to distribute the last of the funds to the drivers of the trucks involved, for their effort and to try and ease their financial burdens at this time,” said Katie Harris, Charmaine’s sister.
Investigators found a note 200m from the crash that prompted homicide detectives to be assigned to the case.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said, “there is a potential that there was an intention for someone to die.”
According to reports, there were no skid marks along the road where Charmaine’s car dashed towards the truck that hit and killed all people inside.
Stewart said it may take a long time to determine the cause of the crash. Superintendent Dave Johnson said officers were observing the case from ‘all angles’ to know the exact causative factors.
Charmaine previously wrote comments in online support groups about difficulties in her life, including the collapse of her marriage. There was also a time when mentioned about feeling “lost and alone.”
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