Garry Church looks ahead to retirement and hanging out with daughter, Vanessa Church after 37 years of service in the police force. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Garry Church looks ahead to retirement and hanging out with daughter, Vanessa Church after 37 years of service in the police force. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily john mccutcheon

Road trauma group helps out in tragic time

THE Sunshine Coast founder of the state's only road trauma support group has held out his hand to those involved in the horrifying car crash that claimed the lives of a mother and her three children.

Garry Church, a former Sunshine Coast forensic crash unit police officer, said the Queensland Road Trauma Support Group would be a positive outlet for passers-by and emergency service workers who walked into the aftermath of the crash scene.

Keisha Ann Jackson, 30, and her three children Joan Jackson, 7, Ryan Jackson-Cook, 10, and Matilda Jackson-Cook, 4, died when their car left Mooloolah Connection Rd at Glenview on Friday night. Eathan Jackson-Cook, 12, survived.

"The follow-up for a tragedy like this is very important in assisting not just the people involved but those first at the scene," Mr Church said.

Little Matilda, or Tilly as she liked to be called, was found upside down with a seatbelt twisted around a foot in the crumpled wreck of the car.

Aged-care nurse Verena Hart was one of the first on the scene and tried to help Tilly.

"What I tell people is that they have done their best, tried their hardest to preserve life - that's all they can do," Mr Church said.

"Those first on the scene often have a lot of guilt that they did not do more.

"But the unfortunate thing is, they do think about it at night-time. They wake up with the nightmares."

Mr Church (pictured), who has attended some of the Coast's worst crashes over the years, said the support was as vital to the emergency services workers as those family and friends left behind.

Police described Friday night's scene as one of the worst they had seen in decades.

"A lot of police have families and children themselves and I don't care who you are, or the experience you have, you never get over seeing children maimed or injured on the road," Mr Church said.

"We certainly hold out our hand to these people and their families."


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