SIFTING through the wreckage of the Holden Commodore station wagon on Monday, the police officer gently pulled a cuddly toy rabbit from the crumpled vehicle.
It became a heartbreaking reminder of a holiday tragedy and the symbol of a family’s future that will never be the same.
The family, who The Advertiser has chosen not to name, has been left devastated after a seven year-old twin boy became the state’s 87th road victim this year, in the dawn crash on the Fleurieu Peninsula, compared with 72 at the same time last year.
The boy’s mother, 34, of Callington, 55km southeast of Adelaide, is fighting for life in the Flinders Medical Centre after suffering critical injuries in the crash on Brookman Rd, Kuitpo.
Her twin son remained in a stable condition in the Women’s and Children’s Hospital while his two-year-old sister had serious injuries.
The woman’s partner, 40, was not involved in the crash, in which the car veered off the road and hit a gumtree. He was believed to be maintaining a bedside vigil. Major Crash officers are investigating if the mother swerved to avoid a kangaroo.
SA Police Sergeant Eddie McLean, from the Hills and Fleurieu traffic section, said police believed the group had been returning home from a weekend away when tragedy struck.
“We think they’ve been returning from perhaps a weekend down at the beach by the look (of) the contents in the back of the car … there was just holiday things like kids’ flotation devices (and) surfboards,” he said.
Sgt McLean said Major Crash investigators were looking into the circumstances surrounding the smash, including the possibility of the car swerving to avoid a kangaroo.
“At this point in time we can’t confirm that that was the reason she has left the road but it is certainly one of the things that our Major Crash section will be looking into.
“On roads like this, (drivers) need to be careful. At that time of the morning there are kangaroos out and about.
“(Drivers) need to not swerve when they see a kangaroo — It’s much better to damage the front of a car with a kangaroo than it is to swerve and end up in circumstances like this.”
Sgt McLean said the crash would devastate the Hills community.
“This is a road which has many crashes — thankfully most of those crashes do not involve fatalities and certainly not fatalities with young children,” he said.
“So this will be a sad day for everyone involved (including) the police department, CFS, the (paramedics), locals, along with the family of the deceased child.”