A crash on one of Melbourne’s major freeways has killed four police officers.
The crash happened Wednesday afternoon after police pulled over a Porsche that was allegedly speeding on the Eastern Freeway.
Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed two police stopped the Porsche in the emergency lane at 4:50pm and called for the back up of two more police officers after the driver returned a fluid test with “a positive result for some type of drug in the system.”
As the group of four questioned the driver of the Porsche, they were hit by an oncoming truck and killed at the scene. The driver of the Porsche left the scene, after allegedly taking photos, with police confirming he has promised to present to a Victorian police station on Thursday morning.
Commissioner Ashton said the truck driver is under police guard in hospital after having a medical episode at the scene of the accident which involved him “blacking out.”
“Ambulances attended obviously to attend to the situation. He has been convoyed for his health to the hospital and at the moment he is still in medical care and we are hoping to get to interview him some time today,” he said.
The Eastern Freeway was still closed for several kilometres on Thursday morning.
Commissioner Ashton confirmed the 41-year-old male driver of the Porsche is known to police and has an extensive criminal record.
“I have been asked this morning not to name him. I understand that he is going to be attending one of our police stations this morning,” Ashton said.
“Contact has been made with him through the night.”
Police have called for motorists with dash cam footage that may have been on the Eastern Freeway yesterday to come forward to help with investigations.
The commissioner added it is the largest single loss of lives in terms of police lives lost in one incident in the history of Victoria Police.
“I’m not aware of another occasion when we’ve lost four Victoria Police members in one incident such as this,” he said.
“So, it’s a very, very tragic night for Victoria Police, and again just highlights the dangers that go with doing police work and the everyday nature of police work can sometimes seem mundane and then suddenly seem very, very tragic in terms of consequences.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews released a statement on Wednesday night hailing the police officers as “heroes.”
“Tonight, somewhere in our city, four families’ hearts are breaking. Our hearts are breaking with them,” he said.
“We grieve alongside them – just as we grieve with every member of Victoria Police and every member of our emergency services family.
“We will always call them heroes.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to Twitter to give his “deepest sympathies.”