A British man with a passion for motorbike riding has tragically died after being hit by a car while on the "holiday of a lifetime" in Australia with his wife.
Darren, 57, was enjoying a bike ride with two mates in Burpengary, north of Brisbane, but the ride "ended abruptly" when a car suddenly "ploughed" into them, his friend Neil claimed.
Neil, a long-time friend of Darren, told Yahoo News he was leading the riders as they travelled along Old Gympie Road when the vehicle "came out of nowhere". Miraculously, Neil was able to swerve out of the way and walk away uninjured, but his friends "weren't so lucky", he said.
In a post on Facebook, Neil said the three men were on their way back from a "fantastic ride" and were only about ten minutes away from home at around 5.25pm on May 21.
"A car driving on the wrong side of the road came at us. I responded (I still don't know how) instinctively and swerved to the left and into the dirt," he said. "The car ploughed into the 2nd rider, and the last rider [was] hit too," he added.
Neil told Yahoo he suggested they take the Old Gympie Road route to avoid the adjacent Bruce Highway.
"In my view, it's more dangerous on a Sunday evening," he said.
One man dies, another critical in hospital
Police said a 57-year-old man – who Neil confirmed as Darren – died at the scene. The third rider, a 60-year-old man, was transported to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
The third rider "was conscious" but "couldn't feel or move his limbs on his left side". "He will recover but it’s going to be several months of rehab," Neil told Yahoo.
Widow faced with flying home without her husband
Darren's wife, SJ, is now faced with returning home without her husband, cutting their trip around Australia short. "She is slowly coming to terms with this horrible loss," Neil revealed in a lengthy Facebook post.
To help with the process, Neil is raising funds to fly her son from the UK to Australia. He will accompany her at Darren's funeral before making the long journey back home together.
"Sadly, SJ will never forget her time in Australia, although for all the wrong reasons now," Neil wrote on the GoFundMe Page.
Driver of car charged by police
The driver of the sedan that collided with the bikes was a 31-year-old Eumundi man, police confirmed. He was charged with dangerous driving causing death, driving under the influence of liquor or a drug, driving whilst suspended and possession of a dangerous drug (Psilocybin) and possession of drug utensil (glass pipe).
He appeared at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this on Monday 22 where the duty lawyer made no application for bail and no plea was entered, the ABC reported. The man will remain in custody and is due back before the Caboolture Magistrates Court on July 3.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.