How did highway crash happen?

INQUEST: The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter leaves the site of the fatal crash on the Peak Downs Highway at Greenmount, near Walkerston, on September 25, 2011.
INQUEST: The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter leaves the site of the fatal crash on the Peak Downs Highway at Greenmount, near Walkerston, on September 25, 2011. Peter Holt

EVERY detail of a double fatality highway crash that killed a mum and her teenage son will be examined as part of a Coronial inquest in Mackay this week.

The deaths of Lardeen 'Larnie' Glennon and her 14-year-old son Matthew 'Matty' Glennon devastated a family and community on September 25, 2011, but an inquest will seek to determine how the Peak Downs Highway crash occurred, and further, how it might have been prevented.

Witnesses on the first day of the inquest included four girls, friends of Matthew's, who had been just metres from the crash, waiting on the driveway for their friend to arrive.

Four drivers in a line of cars that day were also called to recall details of the accident from just over six years ago.

The inquest is expected to examine whether the design of the highway itself contributed to the crash, the duties of overtaking drivers - and whether they need a review - and the laws relating to evidence from airbag control modules (sensing diagnostic modules).

Mrs Glennon and Matty were killed when Adam Wisley's Holden ute collided with their Hyundai hatchback on September 25, 2011 on the Peak Downs Highway at Greenmount, near Walkerston.

Witness testimony during the first day of the inquest indicated Mr Wisley had been overtaking traffic while travelling westbound on the two-lane highway.

He collided with the Glennon's Hyundai, which had been seen by witnesses turning from the westbound lane across the eastbound lane into the concealed driveway of a property.

Issues raised include whether signage on the highway was adequate, whether Mrs Glennon had used her indicator prior to turning, whether excessive speed was a factor and whether Mr Wisley's vision had been obscured by other vehicles travelling in a line of traffic.

Mrs Glennon had been turning into the driveway of Adeline West's home, after Matty received an invitation from schoolmates.

The Mercy College student had been waving to his friends from his mother's car as they slowed to turn into Ms West's driveway.

Seconds later, the four then-teenage girls - witnesses Ms West, Courtney Creighton, Olivia Gianangelo and Georgia Gianangelo - watched, or averted their vision, as Mr Wisley's ute T-boned the Glennon's car.

Both vehicles were wedged into a drain near the driveway after the debris cleared, Georgia Gianangelo recalled.

Outside court, Mrs Glennon's mother and Matty's grandmother, Kathleen McAdam, (left) spoke of the trauma which still racks her family.


Kathleen McAdam, mum of Lardeen Glennon and grandmother of Matthew , outside Mackay courthouse on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
Kathleen McAdam, mum of Lardeen Glennon and grandmother of Matthew , outside Mackay courthouse on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Luke Mortimer

"My son-in-law and my granddaughter are still under the treatment of psychiatrists," she said.

"My son-in law finds it very difficult to come to Mackay. He misses a lot of family things. He just can't come to Mackay. The way the family is situated now, I'm about the only one who can attend. Plus, they can't attend, emotionally."

Ms McAdam said "nothing can bring either my daughter or my grandson back", but added she doesn't "feel any malice" towards Mr Wisley.

"I just want to see justice done," she said.

Ms McAdam said she hoped the inquest and publicity surrounding it would prompt drivers to take more care behind the wheel.

The inquest was told some changes had been made along the crash zone - including the installation of solid double lines to stop overtaking.

However, Ms McAdam wants the safety of the area to be improved further and welcomed "talk of putting in an actual leeway lane so people can go into a safe lane to turn off".

During the first hours of the inquest, four drivers and one passenger took to the stand to provide their accounts of what occurred in the lead-up to the collision, following earlier testimony and statements given in its aftermath.

David Clayton was driving his black sedan in a line of traffic on the Peak Downs Highway, near Mr Wisley's green ute, in the lead-up to the crash.

Gary Grinter was driving a white, marked work ute in the same line of traffic, accompanied by passenger Peter Flynn.

Another witness, Lynette Mayne, was driving a white, unmarked work ute in the same circumstances.

Janine Pellicaan was driving a B-double behind those cars, in the same build-up of traffic.

All of the drivers struggled to recall details about the events of September 25, under questioning by Counsel assisting the Coroner John Aberdeen and Mr Wisley's barrister Joshua Jones.

Mr Wisley is expected to provide evidence today, though Mr Jones said he sustained "traumatic amnesia" and may not be much help. About 15 witnesses, and a number of experts, are expected to be called over the three days.

Today the inquest is expected to hear from an engineer from General Motors in Detroit, who has expertise in crash testing, on airbag computer systems

Topics:  coroner coroner's court glennon highway fatality inquest lardeen glennon mackay court matty glennon peak downs highway walkerston

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Gailes Community House searching for more volunteers

HELP PLEASE: Gailes Community House is seeking more volunteers.

Plenty of roles are available for people of all ages and abilities.

Big problem with new pension pay rise

Retirees receive a slight pension boost from this month.

Pensioners will receive an extra $13.20 a fortnight from this month

Donations flood into storm ravaged regions

Amanda Lindh at Murwillumbah Community Centre. Thanks to News Corp, Givit and the Red Cross, the centre will soon be re-opening its food pantry. The pantry was destroyed by flooding in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

12 months later, Cyclone Debbie's impact still felt

Local Partners