Michael and Kelly Hornby have been left disappointed by the inquest into the death of their twin daughters and Kelly's mother.
Michael and Kelly Hornby have been left disappointed by the inquest into the death of their twin daughters and Kelly's mother.

Did the twins die in vain?

THE parents of twin five-year-old girls killed in a horrific Woombye crash say a coroner has failed to make roads safer for other motorists.

Michael Hornby and his wife Kelly said they had hoped the coroner would have made "tough decisions" to ensure others did not experience the hell they had.

Coroner Bernadette Callaghan yesterday handed down her findings into the deaths of Grace and Jessica, their grandmother Denise Mansell and the other driver Anthony Thomson.

Ms Callaghan made only one recommendation: that the Department of Transport continue to monitor the intersection where the fatal crash occurred so it could consider installing traffic lights or closing the intersection.

Grace, Jessica and Mrs Mansell were killed when a Peugeot being driven by Mr Thomson collided with their Corolla as it attempted to turn right from Nambour Connection Rd on to Blackall St on May 8, 2009.

Mr Thomson was found to have taken "excessive doses" of drugs he had been prescribed for ADHD, anxiety and chronic pain.

The inquest found Mr Thomson's excessive speed, the dark headlights on his car and the cocktail of drugs, including others he hadn't been prescribed, had all contributed to the crash.

Mr Hornby said he had hoped Ms Callaghan would make "tougher decisions", including recommending mandatory reporting by health professionals to the Department of Transport if there was a belief a patient could not drive safely.

Ms Callaghan's report said such legislation would not have saved Grace, Jessica and Mrs Mansell because Mr Thomson's doctors did not believe he would have any difficulty driving.

The main contributor to the crash was that Mr Thomson "had taken well in excess of his prescribed medications" and that he had also taken medication not prescribed by either of his doctors.

"If he had taken the prescribed medication at the prescribed dosage then he would have been fit to drive," the report found.

Mr Hornby said he had expected the inquest to probe further into legislation around the amount of medications that could be prescribed.

The State Government is currently undertaking an investigation into the levels of prescribed medicines in comparison to other states.

"Today and all the way through the inquest we have been extremely disappointed," Mr Hornby said.

"I believe the coroner decided to take the easy ground (by not making a recommendation about mandatory reporting)."

Ms Callaghan said the Department of Transport was in the best position to decide if traffic lights ought to be installed at the intersection of Nambour Connection Rd and Blackall St.

"I'm making no recommendations with regards to any other person involved in this tragic, tragic accident," Ms Callaghan said.

"I find that the accident happened due to a range of contributing factors."

The inquest also examined a memorandum by a police officer following a previous road incident Mr Thomson was involved in.

The officer made a report questioning whether Mr Thomson should hold a driver's licence.

But that report never reached the Department of Transport because of a break-down in the police reporting system.

Ms Callaghan said even if that report had reached the department before the fatal crash, Mr Thomson would have likely kept his licence because his doctors did not believe his medications would have impeded his driving.

Nonetheless, the Queensland Police Service had since put in place a series of procedures so that reports are not lost in the computer systems, Ms Callaghan said.

The Hornby family is currently holidaying in the Northern Territory and will return to the Sunshine Coast in January.


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