A children’s birthday party held on Father’s Day has ended in tragedy after two teenage cousins were killed in a motorbike collision, while the father of one of the teens was injured when he hit a traffic sign at the crash scene near Melton.
Zena Houli, 18, from Altona Meadows, died at the scene after two off-road motorbikes collided on Beattys Road in Grangefields, 40 kilometres north-west of the Melbourne CBD, just after 6.35pm on Sunday.
Clockwise from top: Zena Houli, 18, who was killed in the collision and her father Ali Houli, 43, who was taken to hospital on Sunday night; the scene of the crash on Monday morning; Ali El Houli, 17, died after being taken to hospital in a critical condition.Credit: Wayne Taylor; Supplied
Ali El Houli, 17, from Hoppers Crossing, was taken to hospital but died overnight.
A six-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy, both from Hoppers Crossing, were taken to hospital in a serious condition. Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Lineham said it was not yet clear how the pair suffered life-threatening injuries, but they were stable in hospital on Monday morning.
Zena’s father, Ali Houli, 43, suffered non-life-threatening injuries after the quad bike he was riding crashed into a road sign as he drove towards the scene.
Lineham said investigators believe the two deceased teenagers were riding separate motorbikes when they collided head-on.
“It was a public road, neither were licensed for these motorbikes and the bikes were unregistered,” he said.
“A 43-year-old male was riding a quad motorbike, it’s unknown at this stage as to whether he was riding with them at the time, or whether he was riding in response to that collision … he’s actually the father of the deceased.
“He’s approached the collision scene, lost control on that quad bike and has collided with an 80km/h zone sign.”
Two motorcycle helmets were found at the scene, but it is not clear if they were being worn at the time of the crash.
A quad bike at the scene on Monday.Credit: Wayne Taylor
Omar El Houli, uncle of the two dead teenagers, said the extended family was having a party on Father’s Day before the crash.
“They’re beautiful kids, with absolutely beautiful parents,” he said. “It’s unfortunate what happened … hopefully they’re looking down on us from heaven.”
Lineham said at a press conference the family had been uncooperative in answering questions from investigators. About 50 people were at the property for the birthday party on Sunday.
A helmet could be seen at the scene of a crash in Grangefields that left two teenagers dead.Credit: Nine News
He said the teenagers involved “should not have been riding” dirt bikes on Beattys Road in the first place, as it is an offence to ride without a licence on an unregistered motorbike on a public road.
Police at the crash scene overnight.Credit: Nine News
“It’s a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, these are the circumstances where people are out having fun of a nighttime… where you have dreadful [outcomes],” Lineham said.
“It’s always a highly distressing scene … so you will expect heightened emotions at the time.
“If there’s kids on the bike, parents have got to look after these kids with correct riding equipment.”
Neighbour Tom Pandza said the crash occurred at dusk, when visibility on Beattys Road had dropped. He said there was a large gathering at the property throughout the day.
“They were having a bit of fun with the dirt bikes and quad bikes, but it was starting to get dark,” he said.
“I thought it was getting a bit dark to be riding at that stage, especially because the road here gets a lot of cars, which come through pretty quick.
“You do get a lot of cars speeding through here, and I actually worry for my kids when they go jogging down the road. I have to tell them to stay right off the road, on the nature strip.”
Pandza, who has lived on the road for 21 years, said the family involved had only recently moved into the house.
The narrow bitumen road where the collision occurs has a speed limit of 80km/h.
Speaking at the scene, Detective Sergeant Richard Wood said two young lives had been “tragically lost needlessly”.
“Motorcycles are not toys, they can be lethal weapons,” he said.
The major collision investigation unit is still working to figure out the exact circumstances of the collision and has appealed for witnesses, dashcam or CCTV footage.
Anyone with information or video can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
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