Workmates killed in horror crash, police say ‘speed, alcohol’ likely to blame

TWO workmates have been killed after the car they were in smashed into a tree at speed while returning home from a barbecue north of Newcastle.

Police said four tradies were in the Mazda 3 hatchback when it slammed into a tree at the intersection of George and Soldiers Point roads at Salamander Bay around 1am on Friday.

Jamie Ward, 34, and Lauri Juerman, 29, were killed in the crash, while driver Adam Bortic and his best mate Reece Ashe, both aged 30, survived.


It’s understood Mr Ward died of his injuries at the scene and Mr Juerman died on the way to hospital.

Mr Ashe sustained a split liver, and chest and shoulder fractures, while Mr Bortic was left with less serious head injuries and fractures to his wrist and pelvis.

They were both taken to John Hunter Hospital where they remained in the intensive care unit overnight.

Newcastle Superintendent Craig Jackson said it appeared “speed and alcohol” played a part in the crash.

“This could have quite easily been four people killed in this car rather than two,” he said.

“There is every indication at this point in time that speed and alcohol are factors in this particular crash.”

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the double fatality are continuing.

Crash investigators will interview Mr Ashe and Mr Bortic once they are well enough.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.