Horrific crash in Kyogle country three years ago changed the lives of six bike riders

Wes Carlton was killed in the crash south of Kyogle in 2019. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

Two of the men injured in a horrific crash in Kyogle three years ago spoke about the pain and impact of the crash in Lismore Court today, Friday, December 1.

The driver of the car was in court — Royce McCosker, 52, was travelling from Kyogle to his home in Warwick, Queensland when the Kia Rio he was driving crashed into a group of six club riders on Harley Davidsons on October 20, 2019. Four riders were injured and one died.

McCosker sat in the dock wearing handcuffs as he listened to the victim impact statements from two of the riders.

Ken Hyde said he wakes up in pain every single day since the crash. 

“The injuries have impacted my capacity to run 5km, to kick a football and chase my grandchildren.”

Mr Hyde said he had always been the “man of the house”. Not any more.

“I feel useless.

“I find it difficult to feel happy and I’ve become a hermit, in pain and I do not socialise.

“I have become a burden.”

Mr Hyde said he lost his best mate that day.

Rider Wes ‘Pop” Carlton, 55, was killed in the crash.

“I think about him every day. I have a photo of him in my lounge.”

Geoff Wells got up to make his statement and it was clear he was in pain as he slowly made his way to the front of the courtroom.

Mr Wells spoke about the loneliness and isolation as he spent 402 days in hospital over 17 months.

A lot of that time he was away from his family in Mackay and in hospital in Sydney. A stay of three weeks turned into four months because of Queensland border closures during covid.

“I felt isolated and lonely,” he said.

Mr Wells had numerous operations including two knee replacements.

The worst time was when he was alone in hospital and having to make the decision to have his leg amputated below the knee.

”Prior to the crash, I was active. I went to the gym, I’d run and took the dogs to beach.”

His work was as a heavy equipment operator in the mines.

Mr Wells can no longer work. And he can no longer walk the dogs on the beach.

He can’t swim at the public swimming pool any more because of the risk of infection where his leg was amputated.

His voice broke when he spoke about the impact the crash had on his wife.

He was unable to be there for his wife’s cancer appointments and scans.

“I’ve gone from a healthy man to a life of pain.”

At the 2022 trial, the jury were unable to reach a verdict about the crash.

The judge heard the case and will sentence McCosker on February 16.

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