A distraught family member of the three people killed in a devastating car crash in Queensland on Friday night has revealed the haunting final words she heard from her mother before the tragedy.
Retired doctor Christopher Fawcett, 79, Susan Zimmer, 70, and her daughter Stephanie Zimmer, 35, all died at the scene of the Gold Coast Hinterland crash, which happened at about 5pm on Friday.
Uiatu Taufua, 46, the mother of rugby league player Payne Haas, was the incident’s only survivor. She is currently being treated for serious injuries at Gold Coast Universty Hospital. Police allege she was seen “driving erratically” a short time before the crash and sped off when a patrol car tried to pull her over.
Ms Taufua was allegedly driving with a suspended licence.
Stephanie Zimmer, 35 and Susan Zimmer, 70.Chris Fawcett.Uiatu Taufua leaving court in May of 2019. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
Claudine Snow, the daughter of Susan Zimmer and sister of Stephanie, visited the site of the crash on Sunday and laid flowers at a roadside memorial, The Gold Coast Bulletin reports.
“The last thing (mum) said to me in a voicemail was she was worried about driving at this time of the year,” Ms Snow revealed.
“I wish she had of just listened to her gut feeling and didn’t go out.”
Early on Saturday morning, she missed a call from a mobile phone number. Returning the call, she discovered it was someone from Queensland Police.
“I just dropped to my knees,” she recalled.
“I knew it was about mum. (The person on the phone) said, ‘They’re all gone.’”
A devastated Ms Snow said she would “never get over this”, though the support shown by members of the public had been “really helpful throughout the grieving process”.
“My mother, my stepdad, my only sibling have been taken from me,” she said.
“This shouldn’t have happened.
“I want people to know, when you get behind the wheel, you have people’s lives in your hands.
“It’s destroyed my life. I don’t know if I can ever be happy again.”
Ms Snow described her mother as her “best friend” and her sister as someone who could “light up the room” and “make anyone laugh”. And she said her stepfather, Dr Fawcett, had “saved so many lives”.
A distraught Claudine Snow at the scene of the crash on New Year’s Day. Picture: Richard Gosling/News Corp Australia
Lone survivor of the crash in hospital
The crash involved a silver Mercedes, carrying the three deceased individuals, and a black Mercedes, whose sole occupant was allegedly Ms Taufua.
Emergency services were called to the site of the collision on Friday evening, and found the silver Mercedes had been knocked from the road into a power pole, trapping the driver and two passengers.
Two of the three people were freed from the silver vehicle and given first aid, but sadly the entire trio died at the scene, a Queensland Police spokesperson said.
The black vehicle caught fire, with Ms Taufua allegedly freed by police. She was taken to hospital, where she is still being treated for multiple fractures, internal injuries and bruised lungs.
Gold Coast District Officer Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon said on Saturday that police had tried to intercept the black Mercedes only moments before the crash, after they noticed it allegedly driving erratically.
No charges have been laid, but police allege Ms Taufua was seen driving the car and sped off when a patrol car attempted to intercept her after activating lights and sirens.
She had only weeks ago been released from jail in October after serving a month in custody for assaulting two security guards at the Star Gold Coast casino.
No pursuit was launched, but the officers were flagged down by a passing motorist just minutes later alerting them to the horrific scene unfolding a kilometre down the road.
“Local police were doing patrols on an open road and their attention was drawn to a black Mercedes driving erratically,” Chief Superintendent Hanlon alleged.
“Police provided lights and sirens and attempted to intercept this vehicle, however the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle evaded police, and police made the decision because of the conduct of the driver not to engage in a pursuit.
“The police vehicle subsequently stopped at that location in compliance with our policy.”
The collision was a “tragic, tragic” incident and a heavily confronting scene for emergency services and bystanders, Chief Superintendent Hanlon said.
“It’s frustrating for police and all emergency services who have to continually go to these incidents where had drivers done the right thing, these matters might not have occurred,” he said.
Chief Superintendent Hanlon said Ms Taufua remained in hospital and had not yet spoken with police, and that investigations into the circumstances of the crash were ongoing.
No charges have been laid.
He called for anyone with dashcam footage to come forward or information to contact Queensland Police.
– with NCA NewsWire
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