Two P-platers were racing at speeds of up to 160km/h on a Melbourne freeway before one of the cars crashed, killing four teenagers, a jury has been told.
Simon Farrugia is on trial in the Victorian County Court charged with causing the deaths of four teenage friends who were in the car he was allegedly racing at the time of the fiery crash.
The driver of the other car, Hasan Burke, 18, and his passengers Salih Niyazi, 18, and 17-year-olds George Loizou and Peter Stavrou died when their white Holden Commodore went out of control on the West Gate Freeway at Altona North and hit a tree on December 9, 2007.
Opening Farrugia's trial, prosecutor Tim Hoare said witnesses reported the two drivers were travelling at high speeds as they drove home from the Mornington Peninsula.
Mr Hoare said the jury was open to conclude Farrugia was encouraging Mr Burke to drive faster and that his negligent driving was a substantial cause of the four teenagers' deaths.
Mr Hoare said a crash reconstruction expert will testify that Mr Burke's car was doing at least 149km/h when it started to skid.
Witness Justin Behrens said he saw two cars rapidly coming over a rise behind him as he drove along the West Gate Freeway that day.
They appeared to be even with each other and travelling at an estimated 140-160km/h, he said.
Mr Behrens said a white sedan passed his vehicle while the darker car dropped back.
He said the white car then suddenly veered across four lanes in front of his vehicle, its wheels began smoking and it began to go out of control.
His partner Lana Beintema said she heard cars accelerate before she saw a dark car, then a white car, pass them at a speed of up to 150km/h in the 100km/h zone.
Farrugia, then 19, later denied to police he was speeding or racing the white vehicle.
The jury heard he allegedly told them: "I was just driving like everyone else."
Defence barrister Damian Sheales said the only two people who could recall what happened were Farrugia and his sole passenger Mahmut Temurci, both of whom were uninjured.
He said both denied the cars were racing. They were interviewed separately by police and gave the same version of events.
Mr Sheales questioned whether witnesses could reliably remember the details of such a traumatic event.
"They all cannot be right. There's conflict all over the evidence," he said.
Farrugia, of Kings Park, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death and a count of reckless conduct endangering life.
The jury was told a toxicology report showed Mr Burke had traces of ecstasy in his system, but it was unlikely to have acutely affected his driving.
Cannabis was also detected, but it would not have affected his driving, according to a forensic physician.
The trial continues on Wednesday.
22 Mar 2011
There is a certain element in society that cannot be 'weeded' out.
The Trailer Park Trash element has and always will exist.
The government use these examples to tighten laws up on 'speeding' (traveling at a great velocity), by saying that speed was the contributing factor.
The real contributing factor was that the driver was a moron, of very low respect for his surroundings or himself.