Death Road: Study blames road surface for Louise Leto?s grief

By NATALIE SMITH

YESTERDAY would have been Zac and Louise Leto's fourth wedding anniversary.

It was a day Louise spent with her family in Brisbane, taking in the news that a change to a 1.4km strip of Bruce Highway road surface north of Cooroy had been a contributing factor in the deaths of her husband and their three-year-old daughter, Ashley, on May 11.

Louise, Zac and Ashley were travelling on the road when it is believed their car hydro-planed in damp conditions and hit a truck.

On Tuesday, Queensland Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas announced the preliminary findings of a report commis- sioned after the deaths of Zac and Ashley.

The report found that the resurfacing of the road with less- water-absorbent stone mastic asphalt in 2002 had coincided with a significant increase in accidents, nearly all in wet weather.

The final report is expected to be released by the end of this month, but the Government said this week the 1.4km strip of road would be resurfaced.

Although her memory of the accident is fleeting, Louise, 35, said she had suspicions about what had caused the accident for weeks, but did not blame anyone for the tragedy.

She said her husband knew how to handle a car in an emer- gency, because he was a Yeppoon-based officer and a driver trainer with the ambulance.

"This has opened up such a huge can of worms,'' Louise said.

"The paper on the Sunshine Coast (Sunshine Coast Daily) first told me.

"I had to sit down. I was blown away.

"But at least this means that Zac and Ashley didn't die in vain.

"We knew Zac wasn't speeding and that the car and tyres were in a sound condition. It was only drizzling but then we aquaplaned.

"I had suspicions about what happened for weeks.''

Louise, who is carrying her and Zac's unborn child, is now living in Brisbane with her family and doesn't know yet if she will return to Yeppoon.

"I'm 11 weeks along and the baby is waving arms and legs around like Zac used to,'' she said.

Zac would have turned 49 today.



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