A 14-year-old Queensland boy who was killed in a horrific crash in an allegedly stolen car on Wednesday has been remembered as a teen with a “cheeky smile” who was “always happy”.
Jacob Hopkins, from Redcliffe, was one of six occupants of the car that ran a red light, collided with another vehicle and wound up wrapped around a pole at Rothwell, north of Brisbane.
The driver of the car was a 14-year-old boy, police said, Jacob was sitting in the front passenger seat and the four other passengers were aged between 10 and 16 years old.
The driver sustained critical injuries and was transported to the Queensland Children’s Hospital where he is now in a stable condition.
On Thursday afternoon, police charged the driver, from Waterford West, with one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, unlicensed driving and failing to stop for a red traffic light.
A 10-year-old female passenger of the vehicle from Kallangur has also been charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Two other girls aged 14 and 16, and a 13-year-old boy were also injured and transported to hospital.
A mother, 26, and her four children who were in the second car, escaped serious injury.
Photos of the scene show dozens of emergency services attending to victims on the side of the road, while a silver Mazda can be seen bent in half around a traffic light pole.
Bystanders who witnessed the crash and the aftermath said it was “horrific” and the stuff “nightmares were made of”, the Courier Mail reported.
As news of the crash spread around the community, tributes began flowing for Jacob online.
One friend said she was struggling to believe her friend’s death was real.
“Getting that phone call, all these feelings and now all I see is you bro on my newsfeed, it’s killing me, I can’t believe it’s real,” she wrote.
“All the s**t you got up to, you didn’t deserve this!”
“He’s partying up in paradise now,” another friend wrote. “We all miss him so much already.”
“RIP Jacob,” said another. “Taken too soon.”
Many others expressed their sympathy for the families of all involved in the crash.
One mother said she received an email from her child’s school informing her that a bus load of students returning from inter-school sport witnessed the scene.
She added the school made counsellors available to any student who needed them.
Police Superintendent Dave Johnson said on Thursday he was concerned about underage drivers and people overloading cars.
"It's telling us the choices that drivers make behind the wheel are not the smartest choices," Supt Johnson said.
"The decisions they are taking at times are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk."
No charges have been laid over the crash as yet, with police continuing their investigations.
Jacob is one of 11 people that were killed in a horror week on Queensland roads. Six of those were children.
On Thursday, a baby was hit and killed in a car park in Chinchilla.
On Wednesday, the same day as Jacob’s death, an 86-year-old man died at Lake Eacham in Queensland's far north when his car hit an oncoming truck.
The worst of the crashes happened south of Kingaroy on Monday, when mother Charmaine Harris McLeod, 35, and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4, and Zaidok, 2, died when their car hit an oncoming truck.
Supt Johnson says the fatalities are absolutely tragic and must stop.
"There's no reason to lose that many lives on our roads at any time period. There's no excuses for it, there's no reason for it," he said.
"We want it to stop right now."
Police are appealing for any witnesses of the Rothwell crash, or anyone with dash cam footage of the Mazda 6 driving on Anzac Avenue prior to the crash, to contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.