Police believe there’s every indication that “speed and alcohol are factors” in a crash at Salamander Bay that killed two workmates and left two more in hospital last week.
Jamie Ward, 34, and Lauri Juerman, 29, were killed when the car, a Mazda 3 sedan, they were travelling in shortly before 1am on Friday, April 13, came off Soldiers Point Road and slammed into a tree at the intersection of George Road at Salamander Bay.
Ward, from Queensland, and Jurman, from Estonia, had been travelling with Adam Bortic, 30, the driver of the vehicle, and his best mate Reece Ashe, 30, both from Brisbane.
Bortic sustained serious injuries including chest and shoulder fractures and was taken to John Hunter Hospital.
Ashe, who had been travelling in the back of the car, sustained minor injuries and was also taken to John Hunter Hospital.
The four men had been in Port Stephens working on a construction site in Salamander Bay.
It is believed the workmates had been heading back to their accommodation after attending a barbecue when the car left the road and hit a tree.
Matthew Wiperi from Myzac Constructions, the employer of the four, established a GoFundMe page following the crash to raise funds for Ward and Juerman’s families.
Mr Wiperi said he and his employees would “do everything in our power to make this nightmare that little bit easier for the families” by trying to reduce the the costs of “giving Jamie and Lauri there final resting place”.
“Lauri Jurman’s whole family are living in Estonia,” Mr Wiperi said.
“As you can imagine, his family would be doing everything possible to bring him home. We have looked into ways of making this happen for his grieving family but it comes with a large cost.
“Lauri is alone and we need to do everything in our power to have him back with the ones that love him most.
“Jamie Ward was raised by his grandparents.
“They were heart broken after hearing the terrible news. We were told by his he was stoked with his new job and posted "how good it was to be winning again".
“Jamie's grandparents are going to need all the financial support they can get to give the man they raised a memorable send off.”
Port Stephens-Hunter Police District Superintendent Craig Jackson said on Friday investigations were continuing into the fatal one-car crash.
“There is every indication at this point in time that speed and alcohol are factors in this particular crash,” he said.
“For police and emergency services this is very frustrating.
“We continue to get the message out there in relation to: drive to the speed limit.
“More than 40 per cent of crashes involve speed as a factor. Alcohol – if you've been drinking, don't drive… If you’re drug affected, don’t drive.
“We're going to have mums, dads, sisters, brothers and kids all told their loved one is not coming home.”
Anyone with information about the crash has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.