The West

Tragic split-second decision
Aidan Ashcroft

UPDATE 10.45am: The best friend of a father of three killed in a horror smash that claimed three lives has pleaded with drivers to be patient, saying a moment of "poor judgment" had devastated several families.

Aidan Ashcroft's friend Grant Davison said a split-second decision by a young driver to overtake a big truck on a Goldfields highway when he apparently did not have enough room had left three young children without a father and two other men dead.

"The poor judgment of this bloke has … destroyed a lot of people's lives," he said. "Aidan has three kids under five - they are probably not old enough to grow up and remember him. They're probably going to remember by photos and that's the sad thing."

Police said a sedan was overtaking a truck on Great Eastern Highway, about 10km east of Southern Cross, on Friday evening when it slammed head-on into a minibus being driven by Mr Ashcroft.

The Ford Falcon driver, Diego Codyre, 23, and his front-seat passenger Luke Adams, 20, died while a 25-year-old passenger was injured. The men are all from Kalgoorlie.

Mr Ashcroft, 38, died at the scene and nine family members - five of them children under five - on holiday from Parkes, in central NSW, were airlifted to hospitals in Perth.

Det-Sen. Sgt Garry Nicolau said it appeared the driver of the Falcon was overtaking when it was "quite clearly unsafe to do so".

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has urged drivers to be patient following the weekend's crashes.

Speaking on ABC720 this morning, Mr O'Callaghan said he visited the scene of the Southern Cross crash on Saturday morning while on his way to an unrelated event in Kalgoorlie and witnessed people taking "awful risks" overtaking trucks.

"There are still people who are moving to the incorrect side of the road - and this is the cause of this crash - and not knowing the length of the truck until they get into where I call no man's land and that's a real concern," he said.

"I think a lot of these drivers were inexperienced, they were hesitating and then they were going when they shouldn't have gone."

Mr O'Callaghan said 60-70 per cent of fatal crashes occurred in regional areas and most of those involved regional drivers.

He described the crash as probably one of the most tragic and serious accidents in WA this year.

Mr Davison said Mr Ashcroft, his wife and children - boys aged four and three and a four-month-old girl - had been in WA for two days on holiday with Mrs Ashcroft's parents, sister and her daughters aged three and one.

They were on their way to Kalgoorlie at the start of a month-long trip that was to include a visit to the Monaro Nationals in Busselton, where Mr Ashcroft, president of a car club in Parkes, had planned to show a restored Monaro he was shipping to WA.

Mr Adams' family friend Don Liley said the 20-year-old had decided at the last minute to go to Perth with his mates for the weekend.

Mr Adams, who has a young son, moved to Kalgoorlie from New Zealand this year and worked at Westland Autos, where he hoped to start a mechanic's apprenticeship.

Mr Adams' father Shane, in Hastings on New Zealand's north island, posted on his Facebook page: "R.I.P Luke, a life taken away from a happy chap, so young, for doing nothing wrong, miss you for ever, love you, Dad".

Mr Codyre had moved to Kalgoorlie from Queensland this year and played rugby with the Goldfields Titans. Club president Rob Hunt described Mr Codyre as a motivated lad.

The five adults in Royal Perth Hospital and five children in Princess Margaret Hospital were all in a stable condition yesterday.

The West Australian

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