30th January 2012

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Why am i feeling so down for at the moment? i have been a blubbering mess since Saturday,

The more i try to stay strong the weaker i feel and the bigger mess i seem to be,

I am normally quite a strong person, and i am always there for anyone who needs me,


though at the moment i am feeling alone, empty, weak and fragile…. I know i have a lot of friends on facebook and family around that i can talk to if need be, though i still feel alone, i feel like everything i touch seems to fall apart

Four Tara locals dead after single-car crash


Car crash at Tara

FATAL CRASH: On the scene of the crash at Tara.  Image: Channel Nine Source: Supplied

THE Darling Downs town of Tara is in shock after four locals were killed in a single-car crash over the weekend, with another man recovering in hospital.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown said the deaths had rocked Tara, a town of about 820 residents.

“It’s extremely sad, particularly for a small community like Tara,” he said.

“Our region is a very close-knit family. Everyone knows everyone.

“Our thoughts are with the people and families involved.”

A passing motorist found the wreckage of the vehicle on Bennett School Rd about 8.15pm on Saturday and rang 000.

The car was split in half in what police described as a “horrific scene”.

Emergency services found two men, aged 26 and 39, and two women dead at the scene.

They transported one passenger, 48-year-old Steve Cook, by ambulance to the Tara Hospital before flying him to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where he was in a serious but stable condition last night.

His injuries included multiple fractures to his legs, with one so bad surgeons had to ampuate a foot.

Carol Maree Otto, 43, was one of the women killed in the crash.

She had two sons, aged 17 and 14, by her former husband.

Ms Otto’s father, Merv, told Channel 9 last night he was shocked by news of the accident. “A father doesn’t expect his children to go before him,” he said.

Facebook memorial pages have already sprung up with tributes to two of the dead, “Brad” and “Wendy”.

Another man named Cameron is believed to be the fourth victim.

Cr Brown said Bennett School Rd was not a known trouble spot.

The car was found close to where at least one of the victims lived.

“The police have (indicated) that speed was a factor,” he said.

Cr Brown urged motorists to be particularly cautious on all rural roads.

“Across the whole region any loss of life is always a sad time, but to have this number of people, obviously from different families, is of great concern as it affects so many,” he said.

The state’s road toll for the year as of midnight on Thursday was 180, up 15 from the same time the year before.

The four fatalities brought the toll for the week to seven.

In another incident, a 59-year-old motorcyclist died in a collision with a car about 30km east of Normanton on Normanton-Croydon Rd on Wednesday.

Last Tuesday, a 66-year-old female cyclist died following a crash with a car at a roundabout on the intersection of Pelican Water Boulevard and Sir Joseph Banks Drive at Pelican Waters and a 37-year-old Inala woman died in a two-vehicle collision on Muriel Ave in Moorooka.

A boy afraid of the dark dies in caravan fire

Isaac Stace afraid of the dark died in caravan after father Steve Stace lit a candle in caravan at Melinga near Taree

  • Little boy, 5, tragically killed in caravan fire
  • Death a “kick in the guts” for beautiful family
  • “It happened so quickly, it’s just such a shame”
Isaac Stace

Five year old Isaac Stace died in a fire-ravaged caravan at a property near Taree, NSW, after his father lit a candle. Picture: Adam Ward

A FIVE-year-old boy died in a caravan fire after his father lit a candle so his son wouldn’t be afraid of the dark.

Steven Stace had only recently moved to a property at Melinga, near Taree, with his wife and three children and they were sleeping in a caravan until they could build a new house.

The 41-year-old put his son Isaac to bed about 7pm on Saturday after lighting a candle because the caravan had no electricity and joined his wife, the couple’s baby and their oldest son in an old dairy they had converted into a kitchen and lounge about 30m away.

Inspector Neil Stephens said about two hours later, while the family was watching TV, the father saw flames coming from the van.

“The little boy was worried about the darkness so his dad left a burning candle for him in the caravan so that he’d have some light,” Insp Stephens said.

“He tried to put the blaze out with a bucket and water.

“At this point, the best explanation we have is the candle caused the fire.”

Taree detectives and crime scene specialists examined the charred remains of the caravan yesterday. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

But Insp Stephens said police were treating the little boy’s death as simply a “terrible accident”.

A charred pram and a few other items were all that remained yesterday inside the gutted caravan.

A Rural Fire Service spokeswoman said the volunteer crews, mostly local farmers, were offered counselling.

Webb Bros Taree livestock sale yards will hold a minute’s silence before their first auction this morning in tribute to Isaac and his parents.

Auctioneer Dave Callaughan said they were “a beautiful family” who had recently bought and sold sheep and calves as their fledgling farm was getting off the ground.

“This just feels a kick in the guts,” he said.

“They’d only moved from out west (NSW) and they were doing it a bit tough.

“I’ve spoken to Steve and he’s just devastated as you can imagine, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone. They are just the nicest couple you could imagine.”

Isaac was due to start school today.

Neighbour Heidi Hamming said the blond-haired boy would always wave and say hello when the family collected their mail from the end of Innes Lane.

“He was always smiling, just a happy little kid,” she said. “It’s just such a shame.

“The first we knew of it fire trucks and ambulances and police cars were rushing up the lane.

“We took coffee up to the police about 4am and the fire started back up but the officer put it out with an extinguisher. It happened so quickly, you just don’t expect something like that so close to home.”

Mrs Hamming’s daughter Montana, 8, picked flowers yesterday and put them on the Staces’ letterbox.

29th January 2012

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