Busselton community in mourning after two teenagers were killed in a car accident

"Nothing good comes out of something like this."

That is the words of WA police minister Paul Papalia speaking after a car accident which killed two Busselton teenagers on Saturday night.

Sixteen year-old Buckley Spicer and 15 year-old Luke Hopkins passed away at the scene on Doyle Road in Kalgup.

Police reported there were seven people in the car at the time of the crash, with the 17 year-old female driver being air lifted to Royal Perth Hospital with serious injuries.

She is believed to be in a stable condition and the other passengers received minor injuries.

All of the occupants, ages 15-17 years old are students at Cape Naturaliste College.

School's response

South West director of education Sue Cuneo said the news was absolutely devastating.

"My heart goes out to these families," she said.

"We are ready as a school community to offer additional support for students, staff and parents who need it after a tragic incident like this one.

"A team of very experienced school psychologists will be available to provide assistance for as long as it is needed."

Some support tips from Busselton psychologist Justin Harrison.

Some support tips from Busselton psychologist Justin Harrison.

Late Sunday afternoon, Cape Naturaliste College principal Mark Gillett emailed a letter to all school parents in regards to the incident.

In Mr Gillett's letter he stated: "It is with great sadness we acknowledge that a tragic car accident occurred in our community yesterday involving some of our students."

"Our thoughts are with the students involved, their families and our broader school community at this very difficult time. I am also aware of the impact on friends at school. Within the school, we have a team of support staff available to assist students, staff and parents. We will continue to provide support over the coming days and weeks as needed.

"It is important to give your child the opportunity to talk during these times and to listen to them. It would be best for your child's routines to continue as normally as possible and they should attend school as usual.

"It is important to note the reaction of your child may be significant, even if they had no personal knowledge of the student involved.

"Our school will be continuing to support our whole school community over the coming weeks. It is helpful for students to be in their normal routine as much as possible.

"At times like these, young people may want to meet in groups for support and express and share their feelings.

"If you become aware of any such gatherings, it is important to make sure there are responsible adults present and you may wish to accompany your child."

Helping people through grief

Busselton's Nudge Group director Dr Justin Harrison provided the Mail with advice on how the community could support each other through grief.

He said the was no 'right' way to grieve and no time limit either.

"These days, it is becoming more widely accepted that forcing people (teenagers included) into various kinds of 'De-Briefing' groups or counselling often has more to do with other peoples' need to feel as though they are helping," he said.

"What is more, there is little evidence that it helps very much."

Dr Harrison said teenagers around the age of those who lost their life and were involved in the recent accident have just as good an understanding of the situation as most adults.

"Unfortunately, what they often do not have is experience and skill in managing very painful emotions," he said.

"It may feel completely overwhelming to them.

"Even if the young person was not very closely associated with those who have died, the realisation that death can occur even while you are so young can be very confronting."

Dr Harrison said teenagers could often lack the 'self-care' abilities during these times as well with the potential of them becoming reckless.

"The main thing is to help them navigate through this, remaining as well as possible under the circumstances," he said.

"They might not feel better for a while yet, but with help they might get better at feeling such hard emotions."

"Worst thing about being a copper"

When South West superintendent Geoff Stewart fronted the media on Sunday, he said it was a shocking incident that police dread.

"It is the worst thing about being a copper, is when someone dies," he said.

"The main thing is that we have a country community that is going to suffer, suffer and suffer as a result."

Superintendent Stewart told the Mail he didn't believe the driving age in WA needed to be reviewed in the wake of the incident.

"The young age in drivers involved in fatal crashes is very minimal compared to the ages of those drivers involved," he said.

"The average age of drivers involved in the nine other fatal crashes in the South West this year is 43 years of age."

Six out the ten fatal crashes that have occurred in the region this year have been single cars versus trees, however Superintendent Stewart said police would not be doing any extra road safety campaigns.

"There are road safety campaigns throughout the year targeting the causal factors of road trauma and this will continue," he said.

"This particular crash reinforces to the community to stay aware of these and more importantly have conversations at home with family and friends at home, work or socially about losing people on our roads."

Superintendent Stewart said police were still seeking information in regards to the crash and anyone is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report at www.crimestopperswa.com.au

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800, eHeadspace 1800 650 890 or eheadspace.org.au

This story No time limit for grieving first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.