Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Survivor of crash that killed his best friends took own life before help could arrive

The young Kiwi who survived a crash on a remote West Australian road that killed his two best friends took his own life before help could arrive.

It is believed Kadin Wallace was driving when his ute crashed and rolled on a stretch of gravel road on Friday night 400km southeast of Perth.

His two friends, Dylan Sherriff and Jeremy Vergeer, were fatally injured in the crash.

The men - who were all from Southland - were on a hunting trip.

The wreckage of the ute. The vehicle rolled on a gravel road 400km south-east of Perth. Photo / Channel Seven
The wreckage of the ute. The vehicle rolled on a gravel road 400km south-east of Perth. Photo / Channel Seven

Police said that Mr Wallace died of "injuries he did not receive in the crash". It is believed he killed himself.

Mr Sherriff's brother, Brett, told the Herald today that he did not blame anyone for what happened. "Kadin and Verg were two of my childhood friends.

I don't hold any bad feelings towards anyone."

He also spoke about his brother, a farmhand who, like Mr Wallace and Mr Vergeer, had lived in Australia for several years. "He was the best f***ing human you could imagine."

Relatives of Mr Wallace and Mr Vergeer did not wish to comment.

Mr Vergeer, who leaves behind a young son, became engaged this month. His fiancee, Lauren Withers, posted a heartbreaking tribute to him on Facebook yesterday.

Dylan Sherriff died in the car crash. Photo / Facebook
Dylan Sherriff died in the car crash. Photo / Facebook

"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."

Jeremy Vergeer leaves behind a young son. Photo / Facebook
Jeremy Vergeer leaves behind a young son. Photo / Facebook

Mr Sherriff and Mr Vergeer were to have been groomsmen for fellow former Southlander Rory Watt when he marries in Esperance in July. Last night he was mourning the deaths of mates he regarded as family. "They were my brothers, basically," he told the Herald.

"We all did everything together. They were just awesome boys."

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

"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.

Mr Watt did not want to comment on revelations Mr Wallace seemingly took his own life after surviving the crash.

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 farewell services.

All three deaths had been referred to the coroner.

A spokeswoman for the Western Australia Coroners' Court would not disclose details of the cases, including whether a toxicology report would be done.

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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