Melissa Ann Crowley is suing the State of Queensland for $1.5 million over a 2015 crash that killed her 15-year-old son. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Melissa Ann Crowley is suing the State of Queensland for $1.5 million over a 2015 crash that killed her 15-year-old son. Picture: Zak Simmonds

State sued over dead horse linked to Bruce Hwy fatal

A MOTHER convicted of drug driving in a crash that killed her son has filed a $1.5 million negligence lawsuit against the State of Queensland.

Melissa Ann Crowley had been driving from Cairns to Townsville on September 30, 2015 when her car hit a dead brumby on the Bruce Hwy about 4.45am and then ran into a tree.

Her 15-year-old son Bryon Crowley, who had removed his seatbelt to lie down, was killed and she received extensive injuries that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay and left her wheelchair bound for about three months.

 

In paperwork filed in the Cairns Supreme Court Ms Crowley claims the State of Queensland breached its duty of care including the "risk that a feral horse would enter onto the roadway, be struck and killed and remain on the Bruce Hwy and thereby pose a hazard".

At the time of the highway crash she had been high on a cocktail of drugs including methylamphetamines and amphetamines. She received three months jail with immediate parole release after pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

Earlier on the morning of the crash the driver of a prime mover had struck and killed the brumby, which was part of a herd residing in Clemant State Forest just north of Townsville.

This was nearby where motorcyclist Bernard Davis had died after colliding with feral horse on the road in July that same year.

According to court documents local rangers had told Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in 2006 that feral horses in the Clement State Forest were a risk to the public on nearby sections of the Bruce Hwy.

Ms Crowley's injuries included a severe head injury, a prolonged post-accident coma, multiple fractures over her body and a psychiatric injury as a result of her injuries and the death of her son.

She alleges the State of Queensland's negligence included failing to cull the feral horse population to reduce the risk, failing erect and maintain fences in the area, failing to erect warning signs that there were feral horses in the area and failing to erect electronic road signs warning drivers there was a dead horse on the road.

Ms Crowley is seeking $1.5 million in damages plus interest and costs for personal injuries as a result of the State of Queensland's alleged negligence.