South West police have said an off-duty officer was one of the first to rush to help in a horrific three-car crash which killed a 57-year-old woman and a two-year-old boy, and left five others injured

The yellow RAC rescue helicopter attends the scene of a crash on a country highway

South West police have said an off-duty officer was one of the first to rush to help in a horrific three-car crash which killed a 57-year-old woman and a two-year-old boy, and left five others injured.

Key points:

  • Bunbury grandmother Denise Pelusey, 57, and Zeak Boxall, 2, killed in three-car-collision near Boyanup, WA
  • Police praised emergency volunteers and members of the public, who helped
  • Investigations into crash continue

Police confirmed South West local Denise Pelusey and Zeak Pelusey-Boxall died in the collision on South Western Highway, near Boyanup, on Sunday afternoon.

A 39-year-old woman was flown to Royal Perth Hospital with critical injuries, while four children aged between three and 12 years, were taken to Bunbury hospital.

First responders praised

South West Traffic Police officer-in-charge Craig Clarke said an off-duty police officer came across the confronting scene on his way home from work and, with members of the public, rushed to help.

“My understanding is he’s assisted with CPR on some of the injured parties as well.”

A police car is in the foreground, a series of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances are in the background.https://i2.wp.com/www.abc.net.au/cm/rimage/12887166-3x2-xlarge.jpg?w=1140&ssl=1

The scene of a fatal crash in Boyanup on the South Western Highway.(Supplied: Channel 10)

Sgt Clarke said the crash was among the most difficult that experienced local traffic officers had faced

“[They] have said it’s the most confronting scene that they’ve had to deal with, in terms of its entirety and its complexity … particularly when you have young children involved,” he said.

“One officer attending actually has a two-year-old son … and as much as [police] try to hide it, when I spoke to them it was clear it had taken its toll on them.”

Sgt Clarke said members of the public and other emergency volunteers had all worked to help at the scene and urged people to look after themselves.

Investigations are continuing into the crash, which was the second double fatality road crash in the region in as many weeks, after young couple James Mather and Sabine Mather were killed on Bussell Highway on November 1.

A man and a woman in an embrace smiling towards the camera.https://i2.wp.com/www.abc.net.au/cm/rimage/12849086-3x2-xlarge.jpg?w=1140&ssl=1

Sabine and James Mather died tragically in a head-on collision on Bussell Highway in WA’s South West on Sunday, November 1, 2020.(Supplied)

Support offered to Department of Justice colleagues

Denise Pelusey worked for the Department of Justice as a community corrections officer in Bunbury.

A department spokeswoman said senior staff had offered sincere condolences to Ms Pelusey’s family.

“Support is being offered to her colleagues at this difficult time,” she said.

Deadliest month on WA roads

So far this year, 133 people have died on West Australian roads — 82 of those in regional WA.

Recent statistics from the Road Safety Commission showed 17 people had died last month, making it the deadliest month of the year.

The figure was 70 per cent higher than October last year.

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