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How police helped grieving family after fatal crash

Glen and Donna Ford and Coralyn Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS
Glen and Donna Ford and Coralyn Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS Winslow.BrendonR[BR]

A MAN with the best of intentions and policing resources has made for a heart-warming story that has given a grieving family with a small measure of comfort after a harrowing fatal crash earlier this year.

The incredible story began when Bayside District Crime Prevention Senior Constable Brendon Winslow left his contact details at a home security presentation in Wynnum recently.

Glen Ford, a member of the Wynnum Manly Rotary Club, phoned Snr Const. Winslow for help after he found an accordion in a van he bought at auction.

Mr Ford, who owns a car wreckers in north Brisbane, found the item inside and checks on the vehicle found it had been involved in a fatal traffic crash.

On a police blog published this week, Snr Const. Winslow said Mr Ford and his wife thought the accordion "may hold substantial sentimental value to … well, someone".

"Only they didn't know who," he wrote.

"They conducted their own little investigation and found some details but were left deflated."

The accordion found inside the van had belonged to Alan Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS
The accordion found inside the van had belonged to Alan Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS Winslow.BrendonR[BR]

Mr Ford recruited Snr Const. Winslow to the cause who made some phone calls and found the fatal crash occurred at Miles on the Western Downs.

"I phoned the first response officer, Senior Constable Scott Pogan, explained our little dilemma and he responded in a typical 'out west' manner," Snr Const. Winslow said.

"'Oh ripper mate. It belonged to the poor bloke that died in the crash. The family are gunna be over the moon, ol' mate. Fair dinkum. They been askin' 'bout this thing but I ain't never even seen it. You lil' beauty! Don't s'pose ol' mate also found a walking case as well?'"

The crash victim was identified as Allen Henry Ellis, 90, who died in the crash near Chinchilla in April this year.

It was enough for Snr Const. Winslow who contacted the crash victim's next of kin, Coralyn Ellis who, on being told of the discovery, "shed tears of joy".

"She went on to explain both she and her sister had tried to no avail and had all but given up hope of locating their father's accordion and walking cane," Snr Const. Winslow said.

Mr Alan Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS
Mr Alan Ellis. Photo courtesy QPS Winslow.BrendonR[BR]

"Although they knew they would never get their father back, they really wanted this accordion back in their family.

"His walking cane would be an added bonus."

Snr Const. Winslow paid tribute to Mr Ellis, a farmer of 70 years who at the "ripely age of 90 years old, was still putting back into the community by attending retirement functions to play his accordion for the residents".

"In fact, Coralyn jokes she had to make appointments to meet him because he was so busy giving back to the community," he wrote.

"Since having put Glen and Coralyn in contact with each other, Glen and his wife drove to Toowoomba where they hand-delivered the accordion to Coralyn.

"Not only that but they re-searched the van, locating Mr Ellis' walking cane and returned that as well."

For Snr Const. Winslow, the investigation and reunion was a bittersweet moment and marked "one of those days when I was happy to have gone to work".

"Although you are no longer with us sire, I thank you Mr Ellis for doing your part in bringing pleasure to people with your music," he said.

"I also thank you Glen for doing the right thing and bringing immense pleasure to family members of Mr Ellis.

"And I also thank Senior Constable Scott Pogan and the other police officers who attended the crash."

Topics:  brisbane chinchilla fatal traffic crash miles police western downs


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