Bruce Highway crash: Twins’ ghostly screams after brother Sterling Edwards-Bland

Bruce Highway crash: Twins' ghostly screams after brother Sterling Edwards-Bland

Witnesses have recalled the terrifying words a devastated teenager screamed after his twin brother was killed in a catastrophic head-on car crash.

Austin Edwards-Bland’s haunting cry ‘Stirling is dead’ rings out in the terrifying scene near Queensland’s Gregory River as he realizes his 12-year-old brother has been murdered.

Austin, Sterling and their mother Tracey, were hit by serial drink-driver Graham Anthony Hanson in a Nissan Patrol on the Bruce Highway at 6:40pm on May 1.

Hanson consumed 12 to 14 beers in three hours while driving north between Townsville and Midge Point.

The family were traveling south from their Cannonvale home after a sports carnival in Townsville when Hanson’s Nissan Patrol collided with their Toyota RAV4 in the southbound lane.

Austin, Sterling (pictured together from left to right) and their mother Tracey, were hit by serial drink-driver Graham Anthony Hanson in a Nissan Patrol on the Bruce Highway last May.

Austin Edwards-Bland’s ghostly voice ‘Stirling is dead’ in gruesome scene near Queensland’s Gregory River (pictured)

Sterling died at the scene, while Austin (pictured) suffered a serious pelvic fracture.

Sterling died at the scene, while Austin suffered a severe pelvic fracture.

Witnesses heard Austin yelling ‘Sterling’s dead, his neck’s broken, my life’s over’ as he was trapped in the car with his dead brother, News Corp reported.

Hanson was sentenced Wednesday in Mackay Supreme Court to 11 years in prison for the manslaughter and will serve at least 8.8 years.

The 45-year-old at the time had sold a quad bike to someone in Meese Point and stopped at Bowen at about 330pm on his way to drop it off.

He bought a carton of heavy-strength beer for $62.99 with the intention of drinking it while driving.

An hour later he was seen driving over white lines, driving between lanes, tailgating and swerving dangerously through roadworks.

Hanson almost broke his head in a 4WD pulling a trailer because his blood alcohol limit was too high.

Justice Graeme Crowe said: ‘It seems it was only a matter of time before someone was killed by your actions.

Arriving at Midge Point he collected $3,000 for the bike and started the journey back to Townsville at around 540pm.

Meanwhile, Austin and Sterling were driving home from a swimming competition in Townsville with their mother Tracey at the wheel – all wearing seatbelts.

Tracy spotted Hanson in the distance with her blinding spotlight on and flicked her lights to warn him as he slowed down.

Hanson’s patrol then pulled up directly in front of his car as he looked for a nearby shelter to stop.

‘There was nothing they could do to avoid it [him],’ Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence told the court.

Sterling was sitting on the passenger side of the car which took the brunt of the impact and suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries – before tragically dying at the scene.

Austin’s cries were heard by witnesses and in the background of emergency calls at the time.

Meanwhile, Hanson was worried about his crashed Patrol and the $3,000 in his car, the court heard.

‘He told a witness he didn’t know what happened’ and he thought the Toyota was flashing its lights because the police were driving ahead.

The drunken driver told paramedics he had downed two beers as he left Midge Point and said thinking ‘boobies’ helped when asked about his pain level.

His blood alcohol concentration tested at 0.210 percent but a forensic officer estimated it was between 0.240 and 0.3 percent at the time of the collision.

Ms Lawrence said Hanson’s ‘deliberate, prolonged and despicable conduct … took the life of an innocent 12-year-old child,’ after driving ‘insensitively’ for 136.6km while drinking.

It was revealed that Hanson had a criminal history spanning three states and was a serial drink driver.

Hanson initially entered a guilty plea and admitted being the driver of the vehicle involved in the fatal collision.

He told the court his words would make no difference to ‘what I did’ and apologized to Stirling’s family, friends and emergency services at the scene.

Justice Crowe said 19 photographs of the crash revealed it to be a ‘high-speed, extremely violent collision’.

Family-run Nissan Patrol driver Graham Anthony Hanson told paramedics he had downed just two beers after leaving Midge Point (pictured, emergency services at the horrifying scene).

The father said seeing Sterling’s lifeless body in the car would be something Austin (pictured, left) would have to carry with him for the rest of his life.

Sterling’s father Simon read a victim impact statement in court on behalf of him and his wife Tracey.

Mr Edwards-Bland said his son was a bright light in our lives and they miss his bouncy energy, cheeky smile and words of love before bedtime.

He said Austin lost his best friend who was always smiling to someone who was having a bad day.

The father said Austin would have to live with the sight of Sterling’s lifeless body in the car for the rest of his life.

Hanson was sentenced to 11 years in prison and must serve 80 percent of the term. He has been disqualified from driving.


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