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Coroner's Report on Dr Eugene Merle Shoemaker

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posted on May, 18 2004 @ 10:01 PM
I have finally obtained a copy of the Coroners Report on Dr Eugene Merle Shoemaker. I have reproduced it below;



Case No: 9716400
Rel No: A54/97

Section 16
Coroner�s Reasons for Decision not to Hold Inquest

Section 34
Coroner�s Findings

1. I, the undersigned, a Deputy Coroner for the Northern Territory, have investigated the death of:

On: 18 July 1997
At: Tanami Highway, approximately 650 kilometres North-West of Alice Springs, N.T.

I have decided not to hold an inquest into that death because the investigations into the death have sufficiently disclosed the identity of the deceased person, the time, place, cause of death, relevant circumstances concerning the death and the particulars needed to register the death under the Births, Deaths and marriages Registration Act.

2. I do not consider that the holding of an inquest would elicit any information further to that disclosed by the investigations which have been conducted, nor serve any other useful purpose.



3. On 22 July 1997, the deceased�s body was identified by Patrick Gene Shoemaker.

Post-Mortem Examination

4. An autopsy was performed on 22 July 1997. In his report sworn 6 November 1997, Forensic Pathologist, Dr Kevin Andrew Patrick Lee states as the cause of death:

1(a) Multiple Injuries

In his report Dr Lee comments:

�1. Death would have been both inevitable and immediate.

2. No injuries attributable to a seatbelt were found.

3. The deformation of the driver�s side of the passenger compartment was such that the accident was non-survivable.

4. The alcohol levels are most consistent with postmortem production, rather than consumption of alcohol.

5. The presence of Addison�s disease appears to be incidental.�


5.(sic) Specimens were taken for alcohol analysis.

Results: Blood 20mg/100ml

Police Investigation

6. Police investigation has determined that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding this death.


7. At about 1:20pm on Friday, 18 July 1997 a head-on collision occurred between two motor vehicles on the Tanami Highway, 10.2 kilometres North-West of the North Tanami Road turnoff.

The vehicles involved were a heavily laden 1986 Toyota Hilux single cab, tray-back utility, SA registration VJB 123, owned and being driven in a North West direction toward the Western Australia border by the deceased, whose wife, Caroline Shoemaker, was the only other occupant, and a 1992 Toyota Landcruiser troopcarrier, N.T. registration 506-720, being driven in a South East direction toward Alice Springs by Brian Mark Jennings, who was accompanied by his wife, Michelle Gregurke and their two young daughters. His vehicle was also towing an 8 x 4 heavy duty box trailer.

The collision occurred on the northern (outer) side of the roadway, near the apex of a gradually sweeping left hand bend, from the deceased�s aspect.

It appears that both vehicles had been travelling near the centre of the 11.4 metre wide roadway as they approached the bend, as the surface of the unsealed road was heavily corrugated at both sides.

Visibility across the bend was virtually unobstructed and both drivers should have been aware of the approaching vehicle, if only by the dust plumes they would have been creating.

Reconstruction of the collision indicates that Jennings slowed to about 50 kph and moved to the far left of the roadway to avoid the approaching Landcruiser, however he deceased, whose vehicle was travelling at an estimated 80 kph, moved to his right directly into the path of Jennings� vehicle. This may well have been an instinctive reaction by the deceased, following many years of driving experience in the US, as there is no evidence of any other factor which may have caused him to move deliberately to the incorrect side of the roadway.

The entire front end and cabin of the Hilux was crushed by the impact and both the deceased, who was killed instantaneously and his wife, who sustained extensive injuries, were trapped within their vehicle.

The occupants of the Landcruiser, all of whom except the driver were rendered unconscious, were not seriously injured and Brian Jennings radioed for assistance.

All survivors were conveyed to the Tanami Mine, from where they were medivacced by Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft to Alice Springs Hospital.

The deceased was officially pronounced dead at the scene by Dr Penny Miller at 3:25pm.


I find that the name of the deceased was Eugene Merle Shoemaker, a male Caucasian born 28 April 1928 at Los Angeles, California, USA; who usually resided at Hidden Hollow Road, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. He died on Friday, 18 July 1997 as the result of injuries sustained when the motor vehicle he was driving collided with an oncoming motor vehicle on the Tanami Highway, approximately 660 kilometres North-West of Alice Springs, N.T.

Dated 13 November 1997

Lyn McDade
Deputy Coroner


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