Grant Charles EASTES
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 18467
Joined via NSW Police Cadets on 4 July 1977
Cadet # 3345
Class 161 of 1978
Rank: NSW Police Cadet – started 4 July 1977
Probationary Constable – appointed 9 February 1979
Senior Constable – appointed 9 February 1988
Stations: Manly ( 1978 ), Narrabri HWP, Lismore District Accident Investigation Squad
Service: From 4 July 1977 to 13 January 1990 = 12+ years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: 9 February 1960
Died: 13 January 1990
Cause: Illness – Suicide – overdose – P.T.S.D.
at Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Qld
Funeral date: ?
Buried at: Casino Lawn Cemetery
On 13 January, 1990 Senior Constable Eastes took his own life in a Brisbane Motel. On 20 October, 1989 he had been one of the first police to arrive on the scene of the horrific bus crash upon the Pacific Hwy, Cowper, ( commonly referred to as the Grafton bus crash ) in which twenty people died and twenty three more were injured. At the time it was the worst road accident in Australia’s history. Following the accident the senior constable reported off duty on sick report, suffering from Acute Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome.
The constable was born in 1960 and joined the New South Wales Police Force as a Cadet on the 4 July, 1977. At the time of his death he was attached to the Lismore District Accident Investigation Squad.
It was during that time that I had a lengthy conversation with a highway patrol officer, Grant Eastes. I could sense that this man was in quite a bad way, finding it hard to cope. It was just his attitude, what he was saying, how he expressed how he was feeling. As we talked he brought up all these other incidents on the highway that he’d attended in recent months. I was so concerned that I mentioned the conversation to some senior police officers and later, Major Errol Woodbury, who was one of the State’s senior police chaplains at the time.
A postscript to the Grafton tragedy. Three months after the accident, 29 year old Senior Constable Grant Eastes, the officer I was so concerned about on the night of the tragedy, was found dead in a motel room in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley. He’d taken an overdose of pills.
Grant’s father Ken told journalists his son’s life had been destroyed by the sight of the dead and injured at the Grafton bus crash scene.
I’m afraid to say his suicide didn’t surprise me. Here was a crash investigation officer who had witnessed a real slathering of fatal accidents up and down that highway. The bus crash was the catalyst for his suicide. It was just too much.