Six teenagers die in car accident in Victoria, several others injured

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Monday, February 27, 2006

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Six teenagers were killed in a horrific road accident near Mildura in north-western Victoria, Australia late at night on February 18.

Cassandra Manners, aged 16, Stevie-Lee Weight, 15, Cory Dowling, 16, Shane Hirst, 16, and his sister, Abby Hirst, 17, died at the scene. Josephine Calvi, 16, was flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where she later died of head injuries. Seven other teenagers were injured, including 15-year-old Marco Medici who is now in a stable but critical condition in The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

The accident occurred after the teenagers left a 16th birthday party and walked along Myall Road, Cardross, south-east of Mildura. A car allegedly came speeding around a bend, hit the gravel on the side of the road, lost control and struck the group. The alleged driver, later identified as 34-year-old Thomas Graham Towle, fled the scene on foot, leaving his 10-year-old daughter and four-year-old son in the car. Towle was later arrested by police in Redcliffs. He was taken to Mildura police station for questioning.

Towle has been charged with six charges of culpable driving causing death, four charges of negligently causing serious injury, one charge of failing to stop and one charge of failing to render assistance after an accident. Towle faced Mildura Magistrates' Court on February 20. Magistrate John Dugdale remanded him into custody to reappear before the court on June 26.

Meanwhile, the town of Mildura and surrounding areas is in deep mourning. Premier Steve Bracks said the State Government will provide $AU40,000 for counselling and support services.

Around 3,000 people attended the funeral for Josephine Calvi today. Funeral services for the other five teenagers were held last week.

Sources

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