Man killed when hit by car
A Barkersvale man was killed during an illegal doof party at Wadeville early last Sunday morning. Dennis Whittaker, 52, was killed after being hit by a motor vehicle outside the Kyogle Road venue. Police tested the driver of the vehicle for drugs and alcohol but have not yet laid any charges.
A Wadeville resident contacted The Echo concerned that not enough had been done by police to prevent the party from taking place, despite his forewarning them during the week prior to the event. He said that each time he rang the police he was told that they were “monitoring the situation”.
He expressed concern that if the police would not take action to close down such events, it would signal to other event organisers that they could proceed with illegal parties without fear of retribution.
Detective Inspector Greg Moore from the Richmond Local Area Command said police had worked with the Kyogle Council prior to the event and that the council had issued a Prevention Notice to the property owner and party coordinator. Despite this notice, party organisers went ahead with the party without authorisation.
An estimated 2500 people attended the event and the roads were congested throughout the evening. Residents reported that the area was littered with human waste and rubbish the next morning.
Detective Moore said the police had received 13 noise complaints and had attended the party during the evening to make a risk assessment. As a result of this assessment, police deemed it unsuitable to close the party down at that time due to the large number of attendees.
“If you close one venue, people will relocate to another one,” Detective Moore said.
He said police had to consider public safety when considering the effects of putting a large number of drug and alcohol affected people onto the streets. Police eventually stopped the event at about 8am.
Detective Moore said it was frustrating for police and that police resources were stretched during the Nimbin Mardi Grass celebrations over the weekend. Police set up road blocks at Uki and Goolmangar over the weekend, where they were conducting roadside drug and alcohol tests and car searches. A number of incidents took place requiring police assistance, including the rescue of an injured man who had fallen into a creek bed in Nimbin.
Detective Moore said police would continue to work with council and that there would be consequences for the party organisers. Police are conducting further investigations into the incident and will prepare a report for the coroner.