Several teenage boys killed in a “catastrophic” collision with a truck west of Melbourne were involved in an altercation in the middle of a road only minutes earlier, police have revealed.
Victoria Police released CCTV of the altercation, which happened on Derrimut Road outside Tarneit Shopping Centre about 7.22pm on September 30 – about eight minutes before the boys collided with a truck at Truganina.
The scene of the crash at Truganina on September 30. Credit:Nine News
They were travelling east on Dohertys Road in an overloaded sedan when it collided with the small truck near Forsyth Road. Four of the boys, including the 16-year-old unlicensed driver and his passengers aged 15, 16, and 17, were killed in the collision.
The remaining two boys in the car, aged 15 and 17, sustained life-threatening injuries. One remains in a stable condition at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Police have said there is nothing to indicate any culpability by the truck driver. Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Dean Thomas described the 28-year-old as “innocent” in the “catastrophic” crash.
The car rammed during the altercation, which police are hoping to identify.Credit:Victoria Police
On Wednesday, they confirmed the homicide squad had been brought in to investigate the collision, and on Thursday morning, they released the CCTV of the altercation that happened in the lead-up to it, only about five kilometres from the crash scene.
Police have released CCTV of several vehicles and people they are looking to identify as part of the investigation into a collision in TruganinaCredit:Victoria Police
The footage shows the grey sedan the boys are travelling in surrounded by three other vehicles, which police identified as a red Volkswagen Golf GTI, a blue Volkswagen Golf R, and a red Holden VF Commodore.
Males, their ages unknown, emerge from two of the cars, moving towards the grey sedan as it reverses and rams into the third car. One of the males appears to strike the grey sedan before it crosses the median strip, and drives off at speed.
The males then get back into their vehicles and drive in the same direction as the grey sedan.
The altercation happened only five kilometres from the crash scene. Credit:Victoria Police
Victoria Police said in a statement on Thursday that homicide detectives were looking into any incidents which may have contributed to the grey sedan speeding, and being driven in the “manner that it was at the time of the collision”.
“At this time police are yet to determine the reason for the altercation and any relevance it may have to the collision a few minutes later,” the statement said.
“Detectives are keen to speak to anyone who can identify the three vehicles and their occupants, as well as anyone who can provide further information about this altercation and the reason for it.
“They are also appealing for the occupants of those vehicles to come forward and speak to police.”
Inspector Thomas said the collision had led to “at least seven lives being irrevocably changed”, with the four teenage boys “taken far too soon”, the lives of the others “dramatically altered”, and the innocent truck driver in for a long recovery.
“I know Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir described the incident as ‘catastrophic’ and I still believe that is an incredibly accurate word to use,” Inspector Thomas said.
“We have a young, unlicensed driver travelling at speed in an overloaded vehicle full of young men not wearing seatbelts.
“This is now compounded by the circumstances leading up to the collision and Homicide and Major Collision investigators are working to establish what connection this altercation could have to the way the victim’s vehicle was being driven.
Police are trying to work out what happened only a few minutes before the fatal crash. Credit:Victoria Police
“It may be that it has no connection but we really need to speak to the occupants of those three vehicles to find out more.”
Police said they had already canvassed CCTV in the area, and would like anyone who was travelling through Truganina and Tarneit in the areas around Poplar Boulevard, Derrimut Road and Dohertys Road between 5pm and 8pm on September 30 to check their dashcam footage.
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