Par­ents’ crash pain

The Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE RICE

THE par­ents of a young man who sur­vived a hor­ror crash that killed a dec­o­rated se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer and a beloved mother say they are heartbroke­n for the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies.

Kathy and Andrew Kitt have re­vealed con­cerns about the men­tal health of their son, 20-year-old Har­ri­son Kitt, in the days lead­ing up to the tragedy, which claimed the lives of Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Joanne Shana­han and Ta­nia McNeill.

HAR­RI­SON Kitt’s men­tal health had de­te­ri­o­rated in the days lead­ing up to a hor­rific crash that killed a dec­o­rated se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer and a beloved mother, his dev­as­tated par­ents have re­vealed.

But Andrew and Kathy Kitt say the wor­ry­ing signs they had been ob­serv­ing in their 20year-old son were just “the tip of an ice­berg”.

Shortly be­fore the crash, which claimed the lives of Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Joanne Shana­han, and Ta­nia McNeill, one of Harry’s friends called Mr and Mrs Kitt to ex­press his con­cerns.

That same friend also con­tacted po­lice, who sent an am­bu­lance to the fam­ily’s Ur­rbrae home.

Trag­i­cally,

Harry was then in­volved in what po­lice de­scribed as a high-speed crash at the in­ter­sec­tion of Cross and Fullar­ton roads, Ur­rbrae, on An­zac Day, April 25.

Chief-Supt Shana­han, 55, and Ms McNeill, 53, died at the scene. Harry, who was driv­ing a Volk­swa­gen ute, sus­tained se­ri­ous leg in­juries and re­mains in the Royal Ade­laide Hospi­tal, where he is also re­ceiv­ing psy­chi­atric treat­ment.

In a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day, Mr and Mrs Kitt say: “It is im­pos­si­ble to find the words to de­scribe the depth of our de­spair.

“We are heartbroke­n for the fam­i­lies who have been af­fected by this cat­a­strophic ac­ci­dent. We are dev­as­tated that emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel had to bear wit­ness to that trauma. We, and no doubt the fam­i­lies, friends and col­leagues of the oc­cu­pants of the other ve­hi­cles, all want to un­der­stand why this hap­pened.

“We have only known our son, Har­ri­son, to be a kind, re­spon­si­ble and com­pas­sion­ate young man. He has al­ways been a con­sci­en­tious stu­dent, a loving son and brother, a great friend and a hard worker.”

Mr and Mrs Kitt say they do not un­der­stand what trig­gered their son be­fore the crash, de­scrib­ing his be­hav­iour as un­char­ac­ter­is­tic. “It has only been since Satur­day that we have come to learn that what we had been ob­serv­ing in Harry was the tip of an ice­berg that had been build­ing quickly over a few short days,” their state­ment says. “But what­ever un­der­lies what oc­curred, it can­not bring back the two lives that have been so trag­i­cally lost. There is no un­do­ing what has hap­pened and the weight of that recog­ni­tion is al­most im­pos­si­ble to bear.”

Chief-Supt Shana­han, who had also served as act­ing as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner, was the pas­sen­ger in a Holden SUV driven by her hus­band, Peter Shana­han. Mr Shana­han, 63, a for­mer de­tec­tive and now SA Po­lice gen­eral coun­sel, was treated for mi­nor in­juries in hospi­tal.

An emo­tional Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Grant Stevens de­scribed Chief-Supt Shana­han as “one of our finest”. Ms McNeill’s fam­ily said she was a “loving, vi­brant lady”.

LIFE­LINE: 131 444

TREAT­MENT: Har­ri­son Kitt is re­ceiv­ing psy­chi­atric care in the Royal Ade­laide Hospi­tal. He was in­volved in a crash that killed Chief-Supt Joanne Shana­han, in­set, and mother Ta­nia McNeill.

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