GONE TOO SOON: Leith Wakeham, Chris Holmes and Simon Prideaux died in a horror car crash in Bucca on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
GONE TOO SOON: Leith Wakeham, Chris Holmes and Simon Prideaux died in a horror car crash in Bucca on Saturday, December 17, 2016. Contributed

Family, footy mates grieve for Bucca boys in crash

UPDATE: Chris Holmes' and Leith Wakeham's sister, Em-Lee Holmes-Plowright, shared her emotions on social media after the weekend tragedy.

"Tonight I lost the two of the most important men of my life, my brothers, my loves and my heroes.

"I love you so much Leith and Chris," she wrote.

"Hope you're having fun up there and partying hard as you would be if you were here right now."

Good mate and godfather to Chris' daughter Spencer Stirling, who met Chris and his brother Leith playing rugby league for the Gin Gin Hawks eight years ago, described Chris as "a really good mate, a great dad to his kids, a brilliant football player".

He recalled memories of his mate "being a bit of a larrikin, walking down the street not afraid to talk to any girl, and he'd always help anyone who needed it.

"He never let you down."

For Spencer and many others in the small community the deaths were "a big shock".

Chris's brother Leith Wakeham was driving the car in which friend Simon Prideaux was also travelling.

All three were keen rugby league players, with Chris starting at the Gin Gin Hawks as a keen 17-year-old.

"Back then he wasn't a big framed boy but he could certainly tackle, and he surprised a lot of guys, certainly the big guys," Hawks president Mick McCotter said.

"Chrissy would have played with us next year for sure and some of his mates are devastated.

"It breaks our hearts, for a young fella (to die)... they're in their prime.

"Especially for a small club like ours, the boys would have made a big difference."

Isis Devils coach Paul Barritt said Leith Wakeham made a big impression with the team despite playing only half a season this year.

"He was a big gentle giant, loved to laugh, he kept everyone happy at training," Mr Barritt said.

"It's hit (the team) hard."

A barmaid at the South Kolan Hotel, Hayley Holzheimer, summed up the joy the three local "Bucca boys" brought to their community, "always leaving a trail of laughter".

"I have spent countless hours having fun, joking around and sometimes even lecturing Simo after a big night and waiting for the boys to finish a hopeless 45 minute game of pool," she wrote.

"He was one of the most polite, easy going blokes around and it is heartbreaking to have lost such a sweet patron and over the years I'm proud to call him a friend.

"I'm absolutely certain Simo is up there enjoying a filthy can of VB.

"Cheers to a top mate, you will be greatly missed."


"JUST cuz daddy's gone just carry on don't mourn,

"Rejoice every time you hear the sound of his voice, just know that,

"He's lookin' down on you smilin'

"And he didn't feel a thing so baby, don't feel no pain, just smile back."

Young mum Bek Essex took inspiration from song on Monday to pay tribute to the father of her children, Chris Holmes.


DADDY'S GONE: Chris Holmes.
DADDY'S GONE: Chris Holmes. Contributed

The 25-year-old was one of three young men who died instantly when the Subaru they were travelling in flew off Birthamba Rd, Bucca at high speed, rolling several times before hitting a tree.

"Last night we lost this beautiful person," Bek posted on Sunday.

"I know we had our bad times but I'll forever love you and your children will forever miss you.

"I'll cherish the memories we had, and how you turned my life around.

"You gave me the beautiful gift of our girls, I promise to guide them and keep your memory alive in their minds.

"Rest in peace Chris, forever and always bub. Love you."


GONE TOO SOON: Leith Wakeham.
GONE TOO SOON: Leith Wakeham. Contributed

Chris' brother Leith Wakeham was driving the car in which friend Simon Prideaux was also travelling.

The extent of the crash can be seen in this gallery.

The men had been at the South Kolan Hotel earlier in the afternoon.


REMEMBERED: Simon Prideaux.
REMEMBERED: Simon Prideaux. Contributed

All three were keen rugby league players, with tributes from the Isis Devils and Gin Gin Hawks on social media.

"In the last 24 hours one of our 2016 A Grade men's life was taken way too short," the Isis Devils posted.

"On behalf of the Isis Devils we wish to send our condolences to the family and anyone effected by the loss of such a lovely bloke.

"Rest in Peace Leith."

"Gin Gin Hawks Rugby League would like to send our dearest condolences to the Holmes family for their tragic loss of Chris and Leith," the Hawks shared.

"Two young men taken way to soon.

"If there is anything the club can do please let us know."

The senseless crash has prompted desperate pleas from police to drivers in the days leading up to Christmas.

Hear Sergeant Steve Webb speak from the scene of the crash on Saturday night below.


Police have said "extreme high speed" was the main cause of the crash and have confirmed that angry friends had tried to assault a police officer at the scene.

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