Sorrento Senior Vice-President Alan Gray and President Derek Harnwell and the two plaques for the two teenage boys killed 20 years ago.
Sorrento recall road tragedy
Jun 13, 2018
Football West News
Footballers across the State will get the opportunity to take in one of the Insurance Commission of WA’s key road safety initiatives this weekend when Football West hosts its maiden Belt up. Round.
For one club Perth club the message is always there.
Players and officials of National Premier Leagues WA outfit Sorrento need only go into the home dressing room at Percy Doyle Reserve to refelct on the gravity of not wearing a seatbelt.
On the wall are two plaques to two teenage prospects who were killed on a WA road 20 years ago.
Denis Fernandez and Steven Fitzgerald were just 15 when they died in March 1998. A third passenger in the van in which they were travelling suffered serious head injuries and lost an eye.
Sorrento President Derek Harnwell and Senior Vice-President Alan Gray were both at the club at the time of the tragedy and, in the lead-up to Belt up. Round, they recalled what was a harrowing time.
Alan said: “They were coming home from the Bunbury Carnival and the sad part was the two boys who died and the one who suffered a serious injury were unrestrained in the back of the van … that really reinforces the reason why seatbelts are so important.”
Derek added: “It’s a message we promote as a club and as a community, it’s something we should all be doing.
“They flew them down on the Flying Doctor from Harvey hospital to Royal Perth and that was a traumatic time.”
Sorrento also planted two trees for the boys. But whatever pain the club suffered was incomprabale to that of the boys’ families.
Alan said: “Although we tried to do the best we could after the event and made sure we ran fund-raising for both families, when you spoke them and saw how distraught they were … they’re the ones who are going to hurt for life. It was a really tough time for them.
“This year it’s 20 years ago that it happened and those boys could still be playing, have children. That’s all gone and their families have had to put up with that trauma for the rest of their lives. That’s just so sad.”