Police, families mark first anniversary of Victoria freeway tragedy

A call for a minute's silence will sound through police radios across Victoria to mark the first anniversary of a horror crash on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway.

Kevin King, Joshua Prestney, Lynette Taylor and Glen Humphris were all killed in the line of duty. Source: Victoria Police

Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, 60, Senior Constable Kevin King, 50, and constables Glen Humphris, 32, and Josh Prestney, 28, were killed while on duty on the Eastern Freeway at Kew on April 22, 2020.

The crash was the single greatest loss of life in Victoria Police's history, with the truck driver responsible jailed last week for a maximum of 22 years.

Twelve months on, the fallen officers' families, friends and colleagues will today pay tribute to them in a ceremony at Glen Waverley's Victoria Police Academy chapel.

The service will feature the laying of four wreaths and a minute's silence, with a message to be broadcast over police radio for force members to follow suit at end of the event and at 5.36pm (7.36pm NZT) when the crash occurred.

Other tributes include police station national flags flying at half-mast from dawn until the memorial service finishes, and state landmarks lighting up in blue.

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton will also join the officers' mourning families to lay wreaths at the police memorial wall in Kings Domain.

"We know that this date, and the days and weeks surrounding it, will be a particularly difficult time for many," he said.

"The deaths of our colleagues struck at the very core of Victoria Police and brought home the sobering reality of the inherent dangers that come with police work."

Glen Humphris' partner Todd Robinson said learning of his death was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of his life.

"Today marks 12 months since I wished Glen a great day and hugged him goodbye as I left for work, not knowing that would be the last time we would ever see each other," Robinson said.

"Each and every day, police officers put their lives on the line for our community, and it is the worst fear of every partner and family member to receive that knock on the door."

Andrew, Belinda and Alex Prestney said their world fell apart on April 22 last year, with the loss of their son and brother leaving "scars that will never completely heal".

"It has now been one year, but the memory of how that night unfolded is as clear and as painful as if it happened yesterday," the family wrote.

"As hard it was to lose Josh, harder still has been learning to live without him. We will never get used to this, get over this or move on from this."