'They are heroes': Fallen police officers named

The four Victoria Police officers killed in the horrific Eastern Freeway crash have been identified as Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney.

'They are heroes': Fallen police officers named

The four Victoria Police officers killed in the horrific Eastern Freeway crash have been identified as Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney.

The officers were tragically killed on impact after a semi-trailer truck ploughed into the back of their vehicles at 5.40pm, between the Chandler Highway and Burke Road exits, in Kew yesterday.

Their deaths mark the deadliest day in Victoria Police history.

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Senior Constable Taylor was stationed at the Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section.

Constable Humphris was doing his Probationary Constable Extended Training Scheme (PCET) at Collingwood and undertaking a placement in the Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section.

Senior Constable King was stationed at Nunawading Highway Patrol.

Constable Prestney was doing his PCET at Boroondara and undertaking a placement with Nunawading Highway Patrol.

He was just 28 and graduated from the police academy in November last year.

https://twitter.com/VictoriaPolice/status/1253189694961201153

His grandmother Eliza Anderson posted a heartfelt tribute on Facebook after hearing of the devastating news.

"We were so proud of you. God bless Josh. Miss you forever," she wrote on Facebook.

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton told 9News the officers all had "bright futures ahead of them".

He today visited the families of the fallen officers and their police stations.

"Having spent time with the families - of all four of our fallen officers I can tell you they are all from really strong good families. They are all really feeling it tonight.

"We haven't had a case where we have lost four officers in one incident, so it's been unprecedented. We have been going to various workplaces that have had a close relationship with these officers and they are doing it really, really tough.

"There were a lot of police today that are really reeling from this."

Family member shares heartbreak

A man named Trevor, who drives a truck similar to the one that hit the officers, told Nine Radio he had lost his cousin in the crash.

He said his cousin had been in the force for eight years and was a father and husband, suggesting he was referring to Senior Constable King.

"I saw the news break and thought 'that's a familiar run, my cousin runs up and down there'," Trevor told 3AW.

"Sure enough I got a phone call from my cousin's wife, hysterical.

"I just had a feeling that something wasn't right, it wasn't right at all, and it has come to fruition."

Trevor described the deaths as "just devastating".

"They're not a number, they're a name, they're a family member, they're a friend, they're a cousin, they're an uncle and a brother, or a husband or a wife," he said.

Colleague posts touching tribute

"I lost a close work colleague and a good friend. I am struggling to process this and simply cannot comprehend that I will never see you again.

"I will cry and cry until I have nothing left because you were one of the most beautiful souls I had ever had the pleasure to know and work with.

"I am forever grateful that you were part of my life. One of my lasting memories will be us having our last laugh at work together yesterday. You had an infectious smile and positive attitude. My heart, prayers and thoughts go out to your family."

Melbourne in mourning

Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt on Thursday paid tribute to all the officers who died in the crash last night.

"They made a decison and an oath to serve the Victorian community. They did that oath proud," he said.

"Every day a police officer does something routine this will be in the back of their mind.

"There is nothing ordinary about putting on the uniform and being a police officer.

"We become normalised to that risk because we do that every day.

"We hope we never have another day like this."

Mr Gatt said the police community's thoughts were with the families of the victims, who would be experiencing incredible grief as a result of the devastating collision.

"They can't begin to imagine the feeling of those families," he said.

"I doubt they went to sleep this morning."

An outpouring of support has flooded Melbourne streets, with people tying blue ribbons to their fences in solidarity of the slain officers.

Flowers have been laid outside police stations as makeshift memorials, including at Boroondara Police Station.

A fundraiser has also been set up by Victoria Police to collect donations for the grieving families.

The state government has confirmed Flinders Street Station, the NGV, Arts Centre, Bolte Bridge, Citylink Soundshell and Royal Exhibition Building will be lit blue from 5.45pm today to honour the four victims.

A flag at the police station close to the crash site has been lowered to half-mast in tribute.

The four have been remembered as "heroes" by Victorian leaders.

"It is an unimaginable tragedy," Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville said last night.

"They're Victorian heroes."

Ms Neville told 9News on Thursday the devastating tragedy had sent shock waves throughout the police community.

"When you harm a police officer, it harms us all," she said.

"This is going to hit us hard, it hits the Victoria Police family very hard and all the four families that are living through this terrible, terrible tragedy, my thoughts are with them.

"This is going to stay with people for days, for months, for years."
https://twitter.com/VictoriaPolice/status/1253189694961201153

Virtual condolence book underway

An online condolence book will soon be launched to allow mourners to pay their respects to four police officers killed by a runaway truck on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway.

With social distancing restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton urged those who wanted to offer their sympathies and condolences to do so online, instead of in person.

The messages would be then sent directly to the families of the officers who lost their lives on Wednesday evening.

- Additional reporting by AAP

Source : 9 News More   

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