Rice 000 officer served in Warwick
THE police officer who lectured Toowoomba woman Donna Rice during a triple zero call before she and son Jordan drowned in their car in the January floods previously served in Warwick.
Senior Constable Jason Wheeler, who has been at the centre of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry this week, was stationed in Warwick between 1996 and 2000 and is understood to have performed general duties.
He told Ms Rice off for driving into floodwaters and refused her request for a tow truck when she made an emergency call shortly before 2pm on January 10.
Donna and 13-year-old Jordan were soon after swept away to their deaths, after Jordan heroically allowed his little brother Blake to be saved in his place.
As reported this week, Snr Const Wheeler was “redeployed” to the Toowoomba triple zero call centre a fortnight before the Toowoomba flash flood following an “incident”, the flood inquiry heard.
Media were banned from publishing details of the incident referred to after a suppression order was made by Commissioner Catherine Holmes, who said it was outside the inquiry terms of reference.
The inquiry heard Snr Const Wheeler did not follow guidelines outlined in training given to Brisbane-based officers, but also that the same training had not been given to those in Toowoomba.
Senior police have conceded Snr Const Wheeler’s response was not in accordance with the training received by Brisbane officers, but have also said the Brisbane communications centre would have had trouble dealing with the volume of calls received in Toowoomba on the day the city was hit by flash flooding.
The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission declined to confirm or deny if Snr Const Wheeler was the subject of any professional conduct concerns during the time he served as an officer at the Warwick station.
Donna Rice’s husband John Tyson has accused senior police of misleading him over his wife and son’s last moments, telling the floods inquiry he was told the two were “calm” and that he was also asked not to speak to media about their frantic emergency calls.