Tradie charged with killing workmates in horror high-speed crash

A BRISBANE tradie has been charged with killing two of his workmates and injuring a third in a horror high-speed single-vehicle crash near Newcastle.

The four men had been working at Salamander Bay and were travelling back to their accommodation in a Mazda 3 hatchback following a late-night barbecue when tragedy struck on Friday, April 13.

Police said it was just before 1am when the Mazda 3 left the road at extreme speed and smashed into a tree at the intersection of Soldiers Point and George road.


Front-seat passenger Jamie Ward, 34, was killed on impact, while fellow back-seat passenger Lauri Juerman, 29, died in the back of an ambulance as he was being rushed to hospital.

Driver Adam Bortic, 31, and his best mate Reece Ashe, 31, both from Brisbane, survived the crash.

Bortic sustained serious injuries including chest and shoulder fractures and was taken to John Hunter Hospital while Ashe was taken to the same hospital with only minor physical injuries.

Speaking to reporters at the scene of the crash, Superintendent Craig Jackson said there was every indication that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.

Following investigations, Bortic was arrested on Friday April 20 and charged with a long list of offences, including two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

He was also charged with causing bodily harm by misconduct and negligent driving causing death.

The 31-year-old is expected to appear before Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday, June 4.