Three women are dead, and another two people are seriously injured after a police chase in Sydney’s west.
Police began pursuing a car in Marayong about 1.10am on Saturday morning when it failed to stop for random breath testing as it travelled along Railway Road.
The white Holden Commodore crashed moments after the chase began.
“There was no breaking noise or squealing of tyres. I have never seen anything like it,” said Bruce Davies, a resident who lives just metres from the scene of the accident. “You could see by the damage to the car that it was travelling at a fair rate of knots. It was on its roof and there was debris all over the road.”
“It was pretty scary stuff. I could see a body lying down by the drain. Unfortunately, this is the aftermath of dodging an RBT.”
Mr Davies said he had just gone to bed when he heard a “huge crunch and a bang”.
He arrived at the the scene about 15 seconds after the accident occurred. One police car was quickly joined by several others. “When I came out a police car had just stopped and when I looked down there was a body on the corner over the drain,” he said. “It was completely motionless and the police did cover it up.”
Another resident, Tony Jegede, said he arrived home minutes after the accident and neighbours could hear the occupants of the car screaming.
“[Firefighters] couldn’t get into the car and they had to cut it open first,” he said. “I saw someone was lying down on the footpath and the crews were trying to attend to that person.”
Police said it was a matter of seconds between the start of the pursuit and the moment when the car, which did not have its headlights on at the time, careered off the road and hit a power pole and fence before flipping on its roof.
“The car, we would say, sped away and within a matter of seconds collided with a power pole and now we have three females who are deceased,” Assistant Commissioner Dennis Clifford said on Saturday.
“I understand the deceased appear to be in their 20s but I don’t have any actual ages and they are yet to be identified,” he said.
He described the crash as a real tragedy.
“There’s a lot of people that will be very affected by what occurred tonight,” he said. “A lot of lives that will be changed forever.”
Two women died at the scene and a third woman died after being taken to Westmead Hospital. They are believed to be aged in their 20s. Another woman, 43, is in a stable condition in the hospital while a 33-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition.
All those dead and injured were in the car, police said.
The car crashed through the fence and into the backyard of long-time resident Peter Eisenhuth. He was sleeping when he and his wife heard a loud bang.
“The next thing I heard were sirens,” he said. “It was shocking. I came out and had a look but the coppers told me not to go any further. There were coppers and tow trucks everywhere.”
Mr Eisenhuth said the accident was a tragedy.
The tragedy is the first involving a police chase in NSW since January 2015 when 17-month-old Tateolena Tauaifaga was killed by a fleeing car that ploughed through her backyard where she was playing with siblings.
Debate has raged for years as to whether police pursuits should be banned.
In Victoria last year, police were forbidden from chasing cars that skip minor traffic incidents as part of a series of stricter guidelines on pursuing suspects.
The changes followed a series of recommendations from a coronial inquest into deaths that were linked to police high-speed chases in 2013.
Under the new laws, officers are only permitted to chase fleeing drivers when a serious offence has been committed or there is a threat to public safety.
All information will be provided to the Coroner who will determine the cause of death of the three women and make any findings about the events leading up to the incident.