“Nothing good comes out of that.”
That’s the word from WA Police Minister Paul Papalia, speaking after a car accident that killed two teenagers from Busselton on Saturday night.
Buckley Spicer, 16, and Luke Hopkins, 15, died at the crime scene on Doyle Road in Kalgup.
Police reported that there were seven people in the car at the time of the accident. The 17-year-old driver was airborne to the Royal Perth Hospital with serious injuries.
It is believed that it is stable and that the other passengers have suffered minor injuries.
All residents aged 15 to 17 are students at Cape Naturaliste College.
Answer from the school
Sue Cuneo, education director in the Southwest, said the news was utterly devastating.
“My heart is running out of these families,” she said.
“As a school community, we are ready to provide additional support for students, staff and parents who need it after a tragic incident like this.
“A team of very experienced school psychologists will be available to provide assistance as long as it is needed.”
Late on Sunday afternoon, Mark Gillett, director of Cape Naturaliste College, emailed all school parents regarding the incident.
In Mr. Gillett’s letter, he stated: “It is with great sadness that we acknowledge that there was a tragic car accident in our ward yesterday in which some of our students were involved.”
“Our thoughts go with the students involved, their families and our wider school community at this very difficult time. I am also aware of the impact on friends at school. A team of support staff is available within the school to assist the students Employees and parents, we will continue to provide support as needed in the coming days and weeks.
“It is important to give your child the opportunity to speak and listen to them during these times. It is best if your child’s routines continue as normally as possible and go to school as usual.
“It is important to note that your child’s reaction, even if they did not have any personal knowledge of the student in question, can be significant.
“Our school will continue to support our entire school community in the coming weeks. It helps that the students are as much in their normal routine as possible.
“At times like these, young people may want to meet in groups for support and to express and share their feelings.
“When you become aware of such gatherings, it is important to make sure that responsible adults are present and that you may want to accompany your child.”
Helping people through grief
Busselton’s director of the Nudge Group, Dr. Justin Harrison, gave advice to the Mail on how the community could support one another through grief.
He said it was not a “right” way to grieve, nor was it a time limit.
“It is now widely recognized that forcing people (including teenagers) into different types of de-briefing groups or counseling often has more to do with other people’s need to feel like helping,” he said.
“In addition, there is little evidence that it is very helpful.”
Dr. Harrison said that teenagers the age of those who lost their lives and were involved in the most recent accident understand the situation as well as most adults.
“Unfortunately, they often have no experience or skills in dealing with very painful emotions,” he said.
“It may feel completely overwhelming to her.
“Even if the young person was not very closely connected to the deceased, realizing that death can happen at a young age can be very confrontational.”
Dr. Harrison said that often during these times, teens also lack the ability to care for themselves as they may become reckless.
“The main thing is to help them find their way around it and stay as good as possible under the circumstances,” he said.
“You may not feel better for a while, but with help you can feel such hard feelings better.”
“The worst thing about being copper”
When the Superintendent of the Southwest Geoff Stewart appeared in front of the media on Sunday, he said it was a shocking incident that police fear.
“It’s the worst part of being copper when someone dies,” he said.
“The main thing is that we have a rural community that will suffer, suffer and suffer from it.”
Superintendent Stewart told the mail he didn’t think the WA driver’s age needed to be checked after the incident.
“The young age of the drivers involved in fatal accidents is very small compared to the age of the drivers involved,” he said.
“The average age of the drivers involved in the nine other fatal accidents in the Southwest this year is 43 years.”
Six of the ten fatal accidents in the region this year were single cars against trees. However, Superintendent Stewart said police would not conduct additional road safety campaigns.
“There are road safety campaigns all year round addressing the causative factors of road trauma and this will continue,” he said.
“This particular crash strengthens the community to be aware of it and, especially at home, with family and friends at home, at work, or in society, to have conversations about the loss of people on our streets.”
Superintendent Stewart said the police are still looking for information regarding the crash and that anyone will be asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report at www.crimestopperswa.com.au
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800, eHeadspace 1800 650 890, or eheadspace.org.au