A young boy killed when he was struck by a road train in a small Mid West town was remembered yesterday by his grandfather as an angel and the reason he woke up every morning.
Michael Clarke, 7, died on Tuesday after he was critically injured near the intersection of Midlands Road and William Street in Mingenew, about 380km north of Perth.
It is believed he and his four-year-old brother had been at the roadhouse next to their home looking at a truck when the elder brother was hit as it drove away.
Mick McCarthy, the boys’ grandfather and guardian, said the brothers had run over to look at the truck when it was parked at the roadhouse.
Police were yesterday speaking to the truck driver but are not treating the death as a hit and run. They say it is possible the driver was not aware he had hit the boy.
“It’s the world’s loss,” a grief-stricken Mr McCarthy said yesterday.
“The world has lost a beautiful human being.”
Shire of Mingenew president Michelle Bagley said the tight-knit community of about 480 had been shocked and devastated by the tragic death.
Ms Bagley, a long-time councillor, said everyone was now rallying around each other.
“Everybody knows everybody in a small community like Mingenew and it just makes it hard for everyone,” she said.
“My grandson is in the same class at school, everyone in town will have a connection.
“ It will have an ongoing effect right through our community.”
Ms Bagley said parents at Mingenew Primary School had met yesterday to talk about how they could support the family.
She said the first person on the scene was also a local who would have known the boy.
“The roadhouse was actually closed at the time but a local person was travelling home after work and was first on the scene,” she said.
“It is totally devastating for them. They would have known him.
“It certainly brings back to home just how easily it can happen when there are small children involved.”
The town’s shire office and school flew flags at half-mast yesterday as a mark of respect.
A local church noticeboard also displayed the message: “We are praying for the family and our town”.
Investigators examined the scene yesterday and will also assess the truck involved.
Police major crash officers want to speak to anyone who saw the incident, the boys or a large truck in the area of the Palm Roadhouse.
Anyone with any information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au