South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas labelled the death of 18-year-old Charlie Stevens – the son of Police Commissioner Grant Stevens – as a “heartbreaking tragedy” this morning.
Stevens passed away in hospital on Saturday evening after being struck by a car at Beach Road, Goolwa.
The driver of the car – an 18-year-old from Encounter Bay – was arrested on Friday night and his charges were upgraded on Saturday to causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated driving without due care, leaving the scene of a crash after causing death and failing to truly answer questions.
The man was refused bail and will appear in Christies Beach Magistrates Court today.
The incident came just hours after Police Commissioner Stevens fronted the media to address the death of Brevet Sergeant Jason Doig who was killed in a shooting incident at a rural property in the state’s South East.
A second officer was shot and sustained non-life-threatening wounds. He was transported to Adelaide for treatment and was identified by Police as Sergeant Michael Hutchinson.
A third officer at the scene, Constable Rebekah Cass, was not injured.
These dual tragedies have rattled South Australians according to the Premier, who said on ABC radio the shooting of Brevet Sergeant Doig was “an absolutely outrageous act of violence that offends all”.
“And then only a few hours later for the news to emerge that Commissioner Stevens and his beautiful family have had to endure this heartbreaking tragedy is difficult to comprehend and difficult to put into words,” the Premier said.
Brevet Sergeant Doig’s family has accepted a state government-backed Police Funeral to honour his life and service to the community. SA Police will plan the funeral alongside Doig’s family and the Department of Premier & Cabinet Protocol Unit with further details to be announced in the future.
Additionally, buildings and landmarks across Adelaide will light up blue this evening to honour the fallen police officer.
Blue lights will shine on buildings across Adelaide including SAPOL Headquarters, Adelaide Oval, Parliament, Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide Railway Station and the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
The Premier said SA Police was “an institution we invest our hope in when things go wrong”.
“So when something like this happens it is confronting,” the Premier said.
“The Police Commissioner has had to see our state through some really confronting moments and has been a key decision maker – if not the chief decision maker – in some challenging circumstances and he’s worn that responsibility with grace and dignity.
“It reminds us just how precious life is and how fragile it is.”
Acting Police Commissioner Linda Williams told ABC radio this morning that both Sergeant Michael Hutchinson and Constable Rebekah Cass were “doing well”.
The death of Charlie Stevens immediately following the shooting of Brevet Sergeant Doig had been a bitter blow to the force, which appreciated the outpouring of community support.
“We thought we had a burden too big to bear and then we found we had another burden upon us,” Williams said.
“We obviously have been heartwarmed by this outpouring of support across the community, for both Jason and Charlie.
“We really appreciate community coming together to support us in what is truly a difficult time.”
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