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Man charged over ploughing into riders

Car ploughed into club riders month Kyogle
Kyogle crash aftermath (Image: Seven News)

A 52-year-old man has been charged today (26 March 2020) after his Kia Rio ploughed head-on into a group of riders in Kyogle, northern NSW, killing one and injuring four others on Sunday, 20 October 2019.

The six riders were all part of the Sons Of The Southern Cross Social Motorcycle Club who were heading south out of Kyogle at the time.

One of the motorcycle riders, Wes “Pop” Carlton, 55, suffered critical injuries and sadly died at the scene.

Wes "Pop" Carlton
Wes “Pop” Carlton (Image: Facebook)

Another rider, a 56-year-old man, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital before being airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The other two riders, aged 52 and 53, suffered serious injuries and were taken to Lismore Base Hospital for treatment.

The injured riders were named as “Smiley, Wellsy and Browny”.

Two more riding in the SOTSC group were not hit.

Driver charged

The driver and sole-occupant of the car, a 52-year-old man, was trapped for a short time before being released and taken to Lismore Hospital for treatment and mandatory testing.

Car ploughed into riders
Image: Seven News

Officers from Richmond Police District established a crime scene, which was examined by the Far North Coast Crash Investigations Unit.

Following extensive inquiries, the 52-year-old driver was arrested today (Thursday 26 March 2020) at his Warwick home in Queensland.

He was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, negligent driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, and driver not keep left of centre dividing line.

His licence has been suspended and was set to face Kyogle Local Court on 10 June 2020, but that has now been moved to 29 July in Lismore Local Court.

Our sincere condolences to the families and friends of all riders killed and our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery for all those injured in these crashes.

Group crashes

Pick-Up crash with US riders accident
North American group riding crash (Image: Associated Press)

Riders are vulnerable road users, but when they are riding in a group they present a bigger target and the results can be carnage.

We have reported on several group crashes in recent months in Australia.

Crash injured accident avoidLast week, two riders and a pillion were injured when two motorcycles collided head-on (pictured above) and in the other, two riders travelling the same direction collided and one rider crashed and sadly died.

But the most tragic was the crash in North America where an unlicensed pick-up truck driver ploughed into 10 bikes, killing seven riders.


  1. Please keep us up to date on court result re this terrible accident.

    Well written and more research should be taken on such incidents to establish safe spacing distances for riders participating in group rides.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. This was not an accident, this was negligence.
      And these riders are all experienced in riding in formation, in a pack, and had nowhere to go, they were sitting ducks, when a vehicle swerved directly into their path abruptly at 100km per hour.

      1. Precisely!! Riders always seem to get hardly done by even if it’s obvious the car driver was at fault!! Condolences to all the riders involved.

  2. I have two questions for police, 1) why wasn’t the drivers licence suspended immediately and 2) why did it take 6 months to charge the driver? After all if a motorcyclist happens to speed overtaking a slow caravan it doesn’t take police 6 minutes to book the “speeding rider”.

  3. Lets not lose sight of the remaining riders left and the family of the lost. My love goes out to you all. I cry for your sadness as a Club but a family and I’m sorry for your pain. Sending my whole love. live to ride in the sad time. Forever xxxx

  4. i got hit by a car . 100% his fault , 1year in hosp , and he fxx off overseas, was arrested when he came back , the judge decared it neg driving . i used to be a carpenter, smahed pelvis , arms legs , the judge said neg driving occasioning grevous body harm did NOT come into it just neg driving, I was there at court and yelled at the judge , when asked who i was i explained ( i was on crutches) he delayed for a while then came back with same conclusion . Fxxxx me didnt even lose his licence

  5. Finally charged, that was a hard one to work on then?
    A car on incorrect side of the road hits motorcycle group causing a death & injuries to more riders, all with multiple witnesses. He should have been charged on the spot!
    Seriously sad loss, my regards to family & friends of Wes Carlton.

  6. I was there, I am in the photo standing by the first 4 wheel drive. I arrived just after it happened. It was a big impact with the solo rider over cooking the corner and hitting head on with the cruiser ridden by father and daughter. It appeared the front disc on both bikes interlocked on impact ripping apart the front forks.
    Quite a while before Police arrived. Luckily Paramedics were on the scene very quickly. Cruiser rider was complaining he couldn’t feel his legs. I hope he was ok.

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