Twist after boy left alone in 4WD killed

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Two people have been charged by police over a fatal traffic crash last January which claimed the life of six-year-old Queensland boy Riley Wells.

The crash, which involved a four-wheel drive and a truck, occurred at 2.10am on January 6, 2022 on the Carnarvon Highway, Injune, around 90km north of Roma.

Police and emergency services responded, however, sadly, a six-year-old Roma boy – later identified as Riley Wells – sustained critical head injuries and died at the scene.

The two drivers, a 33-year-old Roma man and a 59-year-old Brassall man, and an 18-year-old female passenger, were transported to hospital.

At the time, the Forensic Crash Unit began investigating, and police launched a public appeal for witnesses or those with dashcam vision to come forward.

Now, almost a year ago to the day, charges have finally been laid.

Investigators will allege a white Toyota Landcruiser was travelling south along the Carnarvon Highway around 20km north of Injune when it left the road and rolled several times, coming to a stop in the northbound lane.

Six-year-old Roma boy Riley Wells (right) died after the ute he was travelling in rolled and was struck by a road train on the Carnarvon Highway at Injune on Thursday, January 6, 2022.Six-year-old Roma boy Riley Wells (right) died after the ute he was travelling in rolled and was struck by a road train on the Carnarvon Highway at Injune on Thursday, January 6, 2022.

Police will allege this vehicle was driven by a 34-year-old Roma man with a 19-year-old Imbil woman and 6-year-old Roma boy as passengers within, who were returning from a kangaroo-shooting trip nearby.

Detectives will allege the adults were able to free themselves, however, the boy was not removed from the vehicle and was subsequently struck by a passing prime mover and died at the scene.

A 34-year-old Roma man has been charged with one count each of manslaughter, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and taking a protected animal.

A 19-year-old Imbil woman has been charged with one count each of manslaughter and taking a protected animal.

Both were granted police bail and will appear in Roma Magistrates Court on Tuesday January 17.

Soon after the crash, the local community rallied around Riley’s parents, Ian Wells and Shanowahh Dennis, with a charity ride, Ride for Riley, organised to support them.

Last year, family friend Lynette Goodworth told the Courier Mail Riley’s family were shattered by the tragedy.

“I knew how hard it would hit his family,” she said.

“Riley was a really lovely kid.

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“He loved his brothers, he loved pigging with his dad, fishing and shooting. He was a real country kid and loved all the stuff that kids do out here in Roma.”

A Memorial Ride 4 Riley will be held to mark the first anniversary of the boy’s death later this month.

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