‘Fly high our precious angel’: Crash victims mourned



THE shattered father of one of three young friends killed in a horror Gold Coast car smash collapsed in grief at the scene next to floral tributes to his son.

Arthur Thompson fell into grass yesterday while visiting the site where his boy Bryton Thompson, 21, and two friends - Marnie Zuk, 17, and Jamie Hunter, 21 - died in a two-car accident on Rifle Range Rd, Pimpama about 6pm on Sunday.

The grieving dad, comforted by a reporter as he held his head in his hands, placed a flower at the scene and seemed to pick up debris scattered from the crash.

The car Miss Zuk, Mr Thompson, both from Loganlea, and Mr Hunter, of Pimpama, were travelling in slammed into another car. The driver of the other car, a 28-year-old man, was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital with pelvic and other injuries.

Queensland Police said one of the men driving and his passenger, Miss Zuk, were pronounced dead at the scene. The other man was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition, but later died.

Jamie Hunter, 21, of Pimpama and Marnie Zuk, 17, of Loganlea were killed in a crash on Rifle Range Road at Coomera. Picture: Facebook
Jamie Hunter, 21, of Pimpama and Marnie Zuk, 17, of Loganlea were killed in a crash on Rifle Range Road at Coomera. Picture: Facebook

Firefighters spent at least half an hour freeing the victims from mangled wreckage and bystanders tried their best to assist, despite traumatising scenes playing out in front of them.

Police are investigating whether driver behaviour or speeding caused the crash.

Rifle Range Rd was reopened by police on Monday morning as they continued to investigate the cause of the crash.

Heartfelt tributes slowly emerged for the trio on social media throughout Monday.

Facebook user Dan Vincent said, "R.I.P Marnie Zuk".

He also posted an image with the words: "In the blink of an eye everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You may never know when you may not have that chance again."

Katrina Crouch said her heart was hurting in the wake of the devastating crash.

"Fly high our precious angel. We love you sweetheart," she said, referring to Miss Zuk.

Mr Thompson's friends and workmates also took to Facebook to express their grief.

"Losing a workmate is like losing family," friend Billy McKinnon posted.

Jamie Hunter, 21, of Pimpama.
Jamie Hunter, 21, of Pimpama.

"The terrible news I received late last night of a young bloke who works for me passing away in a car wreck will be forever in my mind.

"It's always the good people who are taken from us way too soon. Rest In Peace Bryton Thompson you'll be missed severely mate."

Ryan Jamieson said: "Rest in peace brother, you were such a kind and generous soul that was taken way too early, I will always remember you brother. Much love homie. Until we meet again. Gone but never forgotten Bryton Thompson."

Mr Thompson's friend Katie Wheaton said the situation was "just unbelievable".

"I did Scouts (at Shailer Park) with him. He was the funniest scout you'd ever meet," she said.

"He was one of those people that could get along with anyone and would always be happy to go out of his way to help a mate."

Police Acting Inspector Donna Stewart said the stretch of Rifle Range Rd was "quite a nice road" and conditions on the night were "quite good".

"We don't have a history of serious crashes in this area," she said.

"It will take forensic crash unit a little bit of time to work out exactly why this accident occurred."

Marnie Zuk, 17, of Loganlea.
Marnie Zuk, 17, of Loganlea.

Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said police were examining if speed and driver behaviour contributed to the triple-fatal.

"That particular stretch of road there aren't any known factors that would have contributed to this but having said that we're looking at all possibilities," he said.

"I would just ask parents to please speak to their children, speak to your young adults, tell them they've got to slow down and drive to conditions.

"This loss of life is needless, it's preventable and it just should not happen."

The devastating crash comes after Brisbane's Courtney Smith, 20, and Kirsten Van Gorp, 22, were killed alongside Townsville's Lochlan Parker, 20, and Katrina McKeough, 21, when the sedan they were in crashed into an oncoming ute in the Gold Coast Hinterland on July 25.

Anyone who witnessed the Pimpama crash or who has dashcam footage should phone Policelink on 131 444.

Originally published as 'Fly high our precious angel': Crash victims mourned

Bryton Thompson, of Loganlea. Photo: Supplied
Bryton Thompson, of Loganlea. Photo: Supplied