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Teens raced at 160kmh before fatal crash court hears

first_imgFour years after the tragic deaths of teenagers George Loizou and Peter Stavrou, a jury is considering whether a P-plate driver caused or contributed to their deaths, along with two others, by drag racing, even though the car he was driving did not crash. The County Court jury was told on Wednesday that Simon Farrugia, then 19, was drag racing his 18-year-old friend Hasan Burke at up to 150km/h between Dromana and Altona North on December 9, 2007, after six friends left another friend’s memorial service, according to reports in The Age.Mr Burke’s car – with three passengers, Salih Niyazi, 18, and George Loizou and Peter Stavrou, both 17 – veered from the far right lane of the West Gate Freeway to the far left and hit a tree just before the Millers Road off-ramp. The car and its occupants were incinerated shortly after impact. Farrugia and his passenger, Mahmut Temurci, were not injured as Farrugia skidded to a stop in the emergency lane. Farrugia, now 22, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of culpable driving and one count of reckless conduct endangering life and is standing trial. Opening the case, prosecutor Tim Hoare said it would be alleged that Farrugia and Mr Burke were speeding and drag-racing ”in a competitive manner over some distance”. He said some witnesses put the speed of the cars at up to 150km/h and a police reconstruction put Mr Burke’s speed at a minimum of 149km/h at impact. However defence counsel Damian Sheales said both Farrugia and Mr Temurci denied drag racing or speeding. Mr Sheales – who described the case as ”tragic” – said both Farrugia and Mr Temurci had been consistent with their version of events to police since the collision but many witness accounts were different and not all could be correct. Witness Mary Nasser told the Victorian Country court that while people were pulling over seeing if they could help “there was nothing anyone could do”.Earlier, Ms Nasser said she saw a black vehicle overtake a white vehicle on the inside as she drove across the West Gate Freeway on the evening of December 9, 2007. The white car tried to change lanes before moving back to its lane and quickly braking. The car, which she estimated was doing about 130kmh, began to produce smoke as it veered across four lanes, left the road, hit a tree on its side and exploded, Ms Nasser said. She spoke to the driver of a black car that had pulled over, a man who gave his name as Simon and said he appeared in shock. “I said, ‘What’s happened, who are they?’” she said. “He said, ‘Oh they’re my friends. I think they were possibly speeding. I saw them in my rear view mirror’, or something like that. “He wasn’t sure what to do. He was upset.” The jury heard that a forensic report on Mr Burke concluded that he had traces of ecstasy in his blood, but that it was unlikely to have acutely affected his driving. However, they were told that the pathologist conceded that the effects of the fire could have lessened the amount of drugs in Mr Burke’s blood. The mother of victim Peter Stavrou, declined to comment to Neos Kosmos. The trial before Judge Paul Lacava continued yesterday. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more