Man charged over deaths of two Canberra women in Barton Highway crash

Glynis Quinlan 2 July 2018 3
The Valencia family in happier days. Photo: GoFundMe page.

The Valencia family in happier days. Photo: GoFundMe page.

A 65-year-old man has been charged in relation to the three-vehicle crash on the Barton Highway in May which left two Canberra women dead and six injured – including a 12-year-old girl who was airlifted to Prince of Wales Hospital.

NSW Police report that the male driver of a Toyota Landcruiser involved in the collision has been arrested and charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, driving in a dangerous manner, and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. He has also had his licence suspended.

Canberra’s Filipino community was left in grief when Pam Valencia, 36, and Sheena Katrina G. Landagan, 34, both died in the accident which occurred about 7:45 am at the intersection of Boundary Lane and the Barton Highway, Wallaroo on Friday 25 May.

According to police, a Toyota Landcruiser and a Dodge Journey, collided head-on, with the Toyota then crashing into a Mazda 6 station wagon as a result.

Both the women who died were passengers in the Dodge Journey, which was driven by Pam Valencia’s 39-year-old husband, Jimmy. The couple’s four children were also on board, including 16-year-old Jelia, 12-year-old Jana (who was airlifted to hospital), eight-year-old Jaime and 22-month-old Jasmine.

In the aftermath of the crash, a close friend of Pam Valencia, Joana Caoleng, set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Ms Valencia’s four children, who had been left motherless by the “horrible unexpected tragedy”.

The campaign has now closed but raised a total of $25,970 to help the family, with written tributes pouring in.

According to Ms Caoleng, the Valencia family and Ms Landagan were on their way to Melbourne to attend an El Shaddai church event at the time of the accident.

Ms Caoleng wrote on the GoFundMe page that Ms Valencia “leaves behind her husband, her parents, siblings, family, Filipino community in Australia and a multitude of friends, but most heartbreaking that she leaves behind three young daughters and a son”.

Ms Caoleng described Ms Valencia as “a devoted and passionate mother” who, together with her husband, always made the best of any situation.

“Their fervour for life is infectious, and their personalities can light up the darkest places. They have moved mountains for their family, friends, and loved ones throughout their lives, and are no stranger to adversity.”

Ms Landagan worked as a nurse in Canberra and only moved to Australia late last year.

She was remembered in the Facebook post shown below.

At the time of the deaths, the Department of Foreign Affairs in The Philippines extended its condolences to the families of Ms Valencia and Ms Landagan, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano saying: “Our thoughts and prayers go to the loved ones of two of our own who lost their lives in this tragedy. We join the Filipino Community in praying for the quick recovery of those injured.”

Following the crash at Wallaroo, officers from The Hume Police District, with assistance from the Crash Investigation Unit, established a crime scene and commenced an investigation into the incident.

Following inquiries, the 65-year-old man spoke with investigators at Queanbeyan Police Station and he has since been charged.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear at Yass Local Court on Friday 17 August 2018.

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3 Responses to Man charged over deaths of two Canberra women in Barton Highway crash
bigred bigred 9:38 pm 02 Jul 18

I note that NSW has seemingly adopted a policy of proactively prosecuting alleged at-fault drivers involved in serious crashes. I wonder if the ACT will follow, or just stick to the passive stance that hasn’t worked for a long time.

    house_husband house_husband 6:29 am 03 Jul 18

    It’s always something that’s confused me. Governments fine thousands of people for various offences (and have mandatory licence suspensions for some) because they might cause a crash. Yet the majority of people who actually cause crashes get away with no penalty.

    Something as serious as this will go through the court system, but there is no reason why there shouldn’t be a mandatory 3-6 month loss of licence for anyone who is at fault in a crash (particularly nose to tail).

    bigred bigred 9:50 am 03 Jul 18

    To me, it is pleasing to see NSW and Victoria trying things. A lot of it doesn’t work, but they are having a go. The sleeper issue is driver fitness and attitude, but it is also a place they won’t go for electoral reasons!

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