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Jessica Falkholt

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A head-on crash killing an actor, her ‘innocent and ordinary’ family and a drug-fuelled driver on Boxing Day four years ago.

Actress Jessica Falkholt, her sister, and her parents died after another car failed to turn onto a freeway when the Falkholts returned to Sydney after a Christmas event on the south coast of New Wales in 2017.

Witnesses described the cars that hit so hard “were blown up, temporarily forming a triangle,” NSW Coroner Court said Tuesday.

Victims Identified

Lars and Vivian Falkholt were killed in the fire, while sisters Jessica and Annabelle, who were helping passersby out of the rubble, were later killed in the hospital.

“They were innocent and ordinary in the sense that they would come home after Christmas with the extended family that many of us can relate to,” coroner counsel Donna Ward said in her opening address.

She said the Conjola accident was caused by Craig Whitall, a longtime methadone patient who has had various medical problems and a bad driving experience since 1984.

Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan was asked to evaluate the effects of a cocktail of prescription drugs on the driving ability of Mr. Whitall, who also died in the accident.

The research will also look at how you were prescribed these substances.

In addition to methadone, a small amount of methylamphetamine and some cannabis, post mortem toxicology showed that Ulladulla’s man used a “significantly elevated” level of an antidepressant called doxepin or deptran.

His blood also contained several benzodiazepines, including diazepam, better known as Valium.

At the time of the incident, Mr. Whitall was on his way home from Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, where he had been prescribed four five-milligram diazepam tablets.

Ms. Hall said it is likely that Whitall will take more than one of the tablets and travel 60 kilometers to his home.

Whitall went to the Shoalhaven hospital, lied about his access to methadone during the Christmas holidays and demanded a prescription for methadone, according to the investigation.

He had done the same the day before in another hospital, where even a doctor had refused to prescribe methadone, giving him a single dose of diazepam instead.

In a report to the coroner, medical expert Robert Day did not criticize the treatment and provision of diazepam in any hospital.

But giving 20 mg of Whitall tablets created a “significant risk” of the patient taking them right away, with sedative effects likely within an hour, he said.

The investigation also aims to find out how Mr. Whitall also fooled doctors about her access to doxepin, which, in the event of an overdose, can cause drowsiness, confusion, and blurred vision.

“The evidence suggests that no doctor was aware of the extent of other doctors’ prescriptions,” Hall said.

A forensic pharmacologist had informed the investigation that the mob in Mr. Whitall’s system had probably caused “a significant deterioration in his cognitive and motor functions, which would have affected his ability to drive.”

However, Mr. Whitall has not always and inevitably tried to take drugs due to his genuine physical ailments and psychological problems resulting from personal tragedies and difficult events.

“Whatever his flaw in him, Mr. Whitall loved his family the best he could and they love them and miss them,” said Ms. Hall.

She said the court was unable to draw general conclusions about the national methadone program, mainly because Mr. Whitall had used more of his methadone.

The investigation is expected to last until Friday.