Tears flow for family

TRIBUTES have flowed and a small Victorian town is in shock after four members of a former Launceston family were killed in a horror crash in Catani on Friday morning.

Stephen Beckett, who grew up in Launceston, and his wife Jade were dropping their children, Sam, 9 and Ella, 6 off to Koo Wee Rup Primary School on Friday.

They also had their two-year-old son William in the car with them.

But they never made it to the school.

A truck driver allegedly ran a stop sign at the corner of Caldermeade Road and Heads Road, in Catani in the state's south-east about 8.55am before ploughing into the family's car and rolling on top of it.

Both vehicles caught on fire and the Beckett's car was scorched.

    Nine-year-old Sam was pulled out of the car by a passer-by and was the only family member to survive.

He was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital and is being comforted by social workers and other family members, who have flown in to be with him.

Mr Beckett attended St Helens High School, King Meadows High School and Launceston College and only just celebrated his 37th birthday two weeks ago.

Mrs Beckett was ecstatic to become a member of the Koo Wee Rup Horse Riders Club, late last year.

The club has a long waiting list. Club president Laura Kirby said she did not believe Mrs Beckett ever made it to a meet because she had trouble with her horse float.

She had a love for horses and made equine rhythm beads, a jewellery-like pendant designed to calm horses.

The husband and wife moved from Launceston with their three children recently and had been working at Wilbrae dairy farm in Poowong, eight kilometres from Koo Wee Rup, in South Gippsland.

Mr Beckett had Friday off work and was helping take his children to school before he and his wife took two-year-old William to the Dandenong Hospital for a check-up.

William fractured his femur earlier this year and was still wearing a cast when the crash occurred.

The truck driver, Jobandeep Gill, 27, of Noble Park, was arrested shortly after the crash and was yesterday charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death, four counts of dangerous driving causing death, one count of reckless conduct endangering life and one count of failing to stop at a stop sign.

Mr Gill remains under police guard at the Dandenong Hospital and is due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The court date could be sooner if Mr Gill is released from hospital earlier than expected.

The scene of Friday's fatal truck and car crash that claimed the life of four of the Beckett family.

The scene of Friday's fatal truck and car crash that claimed the life of four of the Beckett family.


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