Charges laid following horror crash that killed four women in Navarre

TRAGIC SCENE: One of the vehicles involved in the crash at Navarre, near Ararat, that killed four women driving home from line dancing on May 5. Credit Nine News.
TRAGIC SCENE: One of the vehicles involved in the crash at Navarre, near Ararat, that killed four women driving home from line dancing on May 5. Credit Nine News.

The driver of a vehicle involved in a collision that killed four women at Navarre, near Ararat, has been charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death.

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives charged the 64-year-old Stawell woman following the quadruple fatal collision that occurred on Bains Road on May 5. 

The victims were a 64-year-old Heywood woman, 72-year-old Portland woman, and 74- and 75-year-old women from Hamilton.

The driver is alleged to have run a stop sign. She was bailed to appear in Ballarat Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a young man caught driving a stolen car in Hamilton has been refused bail.

Lachlan Hutchins, 22, of Heywood, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Greg Kew said police received reports of a stolen vehicle in Portland at 3pm on Wednesday. 

He said the car, belonging to the Hutchins’ mother, was observed by police in a car park of the Hamilton State Park area at 12:50am the following day.

Senior Constable Kew said police approached the vehicle and saw Hutchins in the driver’s seat with a male and female passenger. The car was parked beside a second vehicle. 

Hutchins was arrested and taken to Hamilton police station, where a search found two grams of methamphetamine inside his underwear and a phone belonging to his mother. 

Senior Constable Kew said Hutchins had used the phone to log into his Facebook account and send several messages in relation to buying and selling drugs. 

“[Hutchins] has an extensive criminal history that includes possess cannabis, speed dangerously and drive while disqualified. He has six priors for committing indictable offences on bail.”

The court heard Hutchins asked his mother to borrow her car despite not having a licence. She refused, but Hutchins took the vehicle anyway. He told police his mother had given permission to borrow the car.

Hutchins, who has another court appearance for a separate matter in June, was unrepresented in his bail application.

He told the court he wanted more time with his family as he had spent his last three birthdays in custody.

Magistrate John Lesser refused the bail application, stating Hutchins had failed to show relevant cause.