‘Where were the parents?’: Top cop after horror crash
QUESTIONS are being asked as to why six children involved in a horrific stolen car crash were unsupervised as two 10-year-old boys last night were in hospital fighting for their lives.
Police said a 12-year-old boy was behind the wheel of the stolen Toyota Tarago when it rolled in Ross River Rd shortly before 7am yesterday.
Several of the children were thrown from the wreckage.
Community leaders have expressed mixed emotions in the wake of the crash as they pray for the critically injured boys to survive, yet condemn the actions that resulted in the wreckage.
Townsville Police Chief Superintendent Kev Guteridge said yesterday's crash was not a surprise.
"While we are really mindful that we have young kids whose lives are still like this, the ultimate sadness is that this is not unexpected," Chief Supt Guteridge said.
"The issue that I'm most concerned about is I know this will not be the last time something like this happens. The really sad part about it is for some reason or another these kids have been in a position where they can undertake such high-risk activities ... my question is where are the parents?"
Chief Supt Guteridge said the police and other government agencies had worked hard in recent years to address Townsville's youth crime problem, but parents of problem children had to play a role in tackling the issue.
"Young people should be under parental supervision, not being able to be in these situations in the first place where their lives are at risk," he said.
"We wish these kids a full recovery. We are very lucky that no one else was injured.
"Innocent people will get hurt eventually as a result of these reckless actions by young people and that is inexcusable."
Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said it was too soon to comment on any consequences for the children involved or their parents.
"I feel for all the families involved but we really need to ensure that all parents are caring for their kids and knowing where they are," Mr Harper said.
"Like any other mum or dad out there, one has to question why were these kids allowed out to get in this situation."
All six children in the crash were taken to hospital.
Two 10-year-old boys suffered serious head injuries, an 11-year-old girl had an injured shoulder while two 12-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy had only minor injuries.
Queensland Ambulance Service Townsville senior operations supervisor Tony Kirkham said the high-speed crash was a "chaotic" and "harrowing" scene.
He said the two boys critically injured were lucky to be alive. "The situation could have been a much, much worse," Mr Kirkham said.
He said the less injured boys at the scene were visibly upset, but "very, very quiet". "I understand a couple of the people were ejected from the vehicle, but I couldn't speculate as to whereabouts they were seated in the vehicle at the time."
The Toyota had been stolen from an elderly man in Cranbrook.
"It's pretty sad if 10 and 11-year-olds are getting badly injured," said the man, who did not want to be identified. "I've got grandchildren of that age and I'm sure they wouldn't do it (be in a stolen car)."
Police investigations are continuing but Chief Supt Guteridge said the immediate concern was the welfare of the two boys who last night were in a critical but stable condition.