A Pinjarra farm manager today denied ramming a stolen vehicle and chasing it at high speeds before a crash that claimed the lives of four boys, telling a coronial inquest he did not break any road rules but should have called police earlier when he first spotted the car.
Marc Ross rejected the version of events of the crash’s only survivor, front seat passenger Gregory Beau James Pickett, who insisted at the inquest today the vehicle had been rammed by a white car before the fatal crash.
The inquest is examining the deaths of three brothers – Jeremy Nannup, 10, Benjamin Joseph Nannup, 11 and Matthew Andre Indich, 15 – and their cousin and the driver of the stolen vehicle, Quinton Brandon Humes, 17, on Pinjarra Rd on June 27, 2008.
Mr Ross, the last witness in the inquest whose evidence was heard by the boys’ family, said he was having dinner at Pinjarra’s Premier Hotel when his daughter phoned to say her boyfriend Steven Doolan’s Holden Commodore had just been stolen from their property.
He said fearing for his family’s safety and worried other property on the farm had been stolen or damaged, he urgently left the pub, with a friend accompanying him.
Mr Ross said soon on his journey home in his wife’s white Daewoo Nubira he noticed Mr Doolan’s car, which was being driven normally, and decided to follow it, wanting to see where it would go and hoping it would pull over.
The father-of-two said he drove up alongside the Commodore and gestured for the vehicle to pull over, but the driver then seemed to “put his foot flat to the floor” and disappeared out of sight.
At that stage, Mr Ross asked his friend to call the police to alert them the car was headed towards Mandurah. He said at no stage before the crash did he see who was in the car.
Mr Ross said he did not see the car again until after it had crashed, with at least 20 people surrounding the wreckage when he arrived.
He said he decided not to stay at the crash site because other people were in the process of helping the car’s occupants and calling emergency services and returned home; knowing police would visit his property. He said he told police of his involvement when they came to his home later that night.
Mr Ross denied chasing or ramming the vehicle, but could not explain why his passenger, who has since died, told police over the phone from the car that “we are chasing them right now” or how paint scrapings came to be on his wife’s car.
“I can 100 per cent say at no time did I make contact with what vehicle,” he said.
“I know 100 per cent what I did that night and I didn’t break any road rules and that includes speed.
“In hindsight now … I should have first called the police when the car came across my path.”
Mr Ross, who was ushered in and out of the courtroom by a security officer, said he behaved in a “controlled” manner at all times and that he was never angry. He rejected suggestions that he pursued the stolen car at speeds of between 150km/h to 190km/h.
He said he could not recall exactly what happened at the pub after his daughter told him of the stolen car, why his wife remained behind or the conversations he had with his friend in the car.