'Perfect and special': Dad's tribute to dead wife, daughter
A DEVASTATED dad has paid tribute to his "perfect and special" wife and teenage daughter, tragically killed while returning from school parent-teacher interviews.
Zheng Chuan Yuan was on night shift at a welding factory on Wednesday when police called to say his wife's car had been hit outside Lighthouse Christian College in Cranbourne East.
He rushed to the scene and had to be held back as he watched while emergency crews pulled his wife and daughter from the wreckage.
A traumatised Mr Yuan on Thursday night said his wife Ma Li Dai and 14-year-old Xinyu would be "deeply missed".
"They are perfect, they are special to me," he said.
"They are beautiful and I can't lose them."
Mr Yuan is planning to take the bodies to their homeland of China for a family funeral.
Xinyu has a brother, 24.
His words of heartache came as VicRoads promised to review the 100kmh section of the South Gippsland Highway outside the school entrance, where the pair's Toyota was T-boned by a Holden Commodore about 7.20pm on Wednesday.
Xinyu and her mother had shared their final moments together attending interviews with teachers, who had given her glowing praise.
They were pulling out of the college driveway on to the South Gippsland Highway when the Commodore hit the driver's side.
The family Toyota was crushed, the impact so severe it pushed the car into the median strip and trapped mother and daughter who had little hope of survival.
Despite the efforts of a dozen bystanders who rushed to help, including teachers and other parents, Ma Li and Xinyu died in the wreckage.
"These are horrific circumstances,'' said road policing Acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen.
Police believe the 26-year-old male driver of the Commodore had left a bar where he may have been involved in a heated argument with someone known to him.
DRIVER HAD BAR ROW BEFORE FATAL CRASH
He got behind the wheel in Cranbourne and began the 8km journey to his home in Devon Meadows.
Just a few minutes up the road, not even halfway home, his life would be forever changed and, in an instant, two more tragically cut short.
He was taken from the scene with serious injuries and on Thursday night remained in The Alfred hospital.
Police said the man's Commodore had been seen overtaking a number of vehicles before the deadly crash and they were investigating whether speed or alcohol were contributing factors.
"We're investigating all the circumstances and the totality of the collision,'' Mr Hansen said.
"There is an indication - and it's an avenue of inquiry - that the occupant of the silver Holden sedan was previously at a licensed premises and there was some sort of heated discussion with another person at that location.
"That is an avenue of inquiry that we're following."
Families and staff from Lighthouse Christian College were on Thursday in mourning as they set up a shrine for Xinyu, a year 8 student.
Fighting back tears, principal Jacob Mathews described her as a "popular girl" who was always happy and smiling. He added: "The staff and students who witnessed the crash are devastated, they were in tears - we are all heartbroken.
"We are one big family here. Xinyu was like a daughter to us and it will take a long time to recover from this."
She had only been at the school for less than two years with teachers expressing "a bright future" for her.
"She worked hard and was a clever student, but she always helped others," Mr Mathews said.
He described the heartbreak at knowing Mr Yuan had felt helpless at the scene while his wife and daughter were pulled from the wreck.
"When he arrived here, and saw the crash ... staff had to hold him back, it was just devastating," Mr Mathews said.
"He's lost his wife and his daughter. One moment they are here and the next he is identifying their bodies.
"He is feeling a lot of regret and guilt he wasn't here to drive them home."
The church community gathered around Mr Yuan and his adult son.
With the grief came anger and questions over the safety of the intersection outside the school, amid revelations the college administration and local parents had been campaigning for the 100kmh zone to be dropped to 80kmh.
Locals also raised concerns about the safety of cars leaving the school on to the highway. Prasad Philip said: "How many lives have to be sacrificed in front of a school before action is taken?"
Just three weeks ago, a teacher suffered broken ribs in a crash at the intersection. There was another serious crash in December 2015. A VicRoads review last year found it was no "black spot".
Police have called for witnesses. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.