Innocent victim’s family ‘livid’ at Shania social media video
CRASH victim Dennis Sales's family is "livid" that their father is in an induced coma to help him recover after a head-on smash they fear was caused by a social media stunt.
Shania McNeill, 21, appeared to be playing chicken in a social media video taken moments before she slammed into the car carrying Mr Sales, 44, and another man on Richmond Rd, Berkshire Park, just after 1am Sunday.
She died at the scene and her two friends, Hazel Wildman, 23, and Faeda Hunter, 20, were taken to Westmead Hospital.
As the two injured women appeared in a selfie taken in hospital, Mr Sales was just metres away in Westmead's intensive care unit with devastating injuries, including broken ribs and small spinal fractures.
His son's girlfriend Amy McLean said Mr Sales, a singer in a band, and another man were returning from a gig when the car veered into their path.
"He was put into an induced coma because his diaphragm ruptured and all his stomach went up into his chest," Ms McLean told The Daily Telegraph. "He will be in hospital for six weeks then he'll need to be off work from six months to a year."
She said Mr Sales was expected to make a full recovery, along with the man who was driving and sustained less-serious injuries.
But she said the family was horrified on Monday to see the social media video of Ms McNeill swerving into the path of oncoming traffic as her friends shrieked and dance music played on the radio.
And the hospital bed selfies of Ms Wildman and Ms Hunter after the fatal crash only made the matter worse.
"It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting," Ms McLean said.
"We were absolutely livid to know (Ms McNeill) was willing to play with people's lives like that. It's so upsetting to know this happened because of (her) silly mistake. I'm actually shaking. She would have been doing this to show off to her friends and they were wrong to record it."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said police had not ruled out drugs or alcohol and said social media distraction was also a major part of the crash investigation. He said police were waiting to speak to the two surviving women.
"It does disturb us that things like this get put online," Assistant Commissioner Corboy said. "I'm sure in hindsight (the passengers) will regret doing that. The most disturbing thing with the video is her family and parents will have to look at it now. The fact it's gone online, the fact they have to live with that, is disturbing."
Ms McNeill's former boyfriend Joel Bentley, with whom she had split just a fortnight ago, said he was disgusted with her friends for letting her play foolishly behind the wheel.
"I wouldn't even call them friends. What kind of friends are they?" he asked. "I'd tell her: 'I don't care if you call me at 4am, you call me and I'll come and pick you up.' I'd rather know the person I love is going to get home safe."
Mr Bentley slammed the two friends' hospital selfies, saying: "It's disgraceful, if your friend just died in hospital, who the hell takes a photo? She had to be cut out of the car … it's not the time to be taking selfies and posting them all over social media.
"She was the most beautiful girl, so passionate about everything in her life … she always said her mum was an angel sent from heaven."
Ms McNeill and Ms Hunter were in the year below Mr Bentley at Richmond High School. The women got jobs at the Pace Farm eggs factory in Minchinbury, where Ms Wildman worked and the three became friends.
Mr Bentley said Ms McNeill's Queensland-based family were expecting a new addition, with her mother Tennille due to give birth to a baby this week, which Ms McNeill was helping to name.