Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Crash Kiwi 'took own life' before rescue services arrived

The three young men, (from left to right) Kadin Wallace, Jeremy Vergeer and Dylan Sherriff were best mates from New Zealand. Photo / Facebook
The three young men, (from left to right) Kadin Wallace, Jeremy Vergeer and Dylan Sherriff were best mates from New Zealand. Photo / Facebook

A 24-year-old kiwi who survived a crash on a remote western Australian road that killed his two best mates tragically took his own life before help arrived.

Australian police have confirmed while the bodies of three New Zealand men were found near the wreckage of their rolled ute on Saturday only two died in the crash.

In a shocking twist police say the driver, Kadin Wallace, survived the accident but took his own life before emergency services arrived at the scene.

Jeremy Vergeer. Picture: Facebook
Jeremy Vergeer. Picture: Facebook

More details are emerging of a deadly night hunting trip on an unsealed stretch of the Lake King-Norseman Road in western Australia.

It is believed 24-year-old Mr Wallace was driving the Toyota Hilux dual-cab when it rolled, leaving the vehicle badly damaged on its roof and passenger's side.

Paramedics weren't called to the crash site 400km south-east of Perth until daybreak after a passing driver came across the wreck several hours after the accident happened.

Western Australian police confirmed last night that two of the men were fatally injured when the ute rolled but a third died of "injuries that he did not receive in the crash".

The trio - Dylan Sherriff, Jeremy Vergeer and Kadin Wallace, all from Southland - were childhood friends who had travelled to Australia to work on farms. They were aged 24 and 25.

Kadin Wallace. Picture: Facebook
Kadin Wallace. Picture: Facebook

Major crash squad detectives were analysing the crash scene on Saturday night to determine a cause.

According to Facebook Mr Vergeer had just proposed to his partner and mother of his child Lauren Withers this month.

Yesterday his fiancee posted a heartbreaking tribute on social media to the young father.

"You were my soulmate, my best friend, my everything. The future seemed so promising for us and I struggle with the idea that it's now all just a beautiful dream I had.

"We really were both so unbelievably happy ... I know [you're] here with me now, you will watch over me and your beautiful little boy ... who you loved so deeply."

Mr Sherriff and Mr Vergeer were to have been groomsmen for fellow former Southlander Rory Watt when he gets married in Esperance in July, and last night he was mourning the deaths of mates he regarded as family.

Dylan Sherriff. Picture: Facebook
Dylan Sherriff. Picture: Facebook

"They were my brothers, basically," he told the Herald. "We all did everything together. They were just awesome boys."

Mr Watt said they became best mates after they moved to Western Australia to work.

"I've been here for nine years and Jeremy said he wanted to come over. I contacted one of my old bosses and said, 'I've got a mate who wants to come over and work'."

Mr Sherriff followed afterwards, before Mr Wallace arrived.

According to Mr Wallace's Facebook page, he was from the tiny southern settlement of Nightcaps.

Mr Watt did not want to comment on revelations that one of the men seemingly took his own life after surviving the crash.

Dylan Sherriff. Picture: Facebook
Dylan Sherriff. Picture: Facebook

Mr Watt's father, Tony, spoke to him at the weekend and said he "was a mess".

Family members and friends are now gathering in Esperance, where a memorial service will be held for the trio tomorrow. Plans are being made to bring the men back to New Zealand, for their final farewell services.

No one from Mr Vergeer's and Mr Sherriff's families could be contacted but a friend from Esperance told the West Australian the men were "some of the most genuine guys you could ever meet".

"They all came from New Zealand and were best of friends. It's just a tragedy. They ... worked hard and they all hung out together."

Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906 (Palmerston North and Levin)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- NZ Herald

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