Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, a career officer and mother of two, and Constable Glen Humphris, a trainee who graduated in March, were working two-up in the road policing’s drug and alcohol division that night.
Senior Constable Kevin King, a father of three boys, and new recruit Constable Josh Prestney were members of the Nunawading Highway Patrol.
“Their names will forever be remembered, their service honoured and their memories celebrated. These officers were undertaking their everyday duties in helping keep the community safe when they were killed,” Commissioner Ashton said.
Constable Prestney was remembered as a lover of heavy metal music with a brother who is also in the force.
Senior Constable King’s nephew Lachie Fairweather said his uncle was a Richmond Football Club fan who flowed with positivity.
“It was great seeing you at your 50th this year and being able to see you so happy surrounded by your family was the best memory that I will cherish forever,” he posted online.
Having died in the line of duty, all four police would usually be given funerals at the Police Academy in Glen Waverley with full police honours. However, that may not be possible under government guidelines for COVID-19, which allow only 10 mourners to attend funerals.
Detectives are yet to speak with the driver of a refrigerated semi-trailer, but the man has been identified as Mohinder Singh Bajwa, from Cranbourne. There is no suggestion Mr Bajwa was involved in taking the photos and video after the crash.
He remains under police guard in hospital after suffering a medical episode following the deadly crash.
Police searched the truck driver’s Cranbourne home on Wednesday evening and seized several unidentified items.
“What was found there is still the subject of ongoing investigation,” Mr Ashton said.
Police also questioned former mortgage broker and multimillionaire Richard Pusey, 41, who was interviewed for several hours on Thursday and then returned to his luxury Fitzroy home. He was then returned to police to custody, but has not been charged.
It is alleged Mr Pusey was speeding at about 140km/h when he was pulled over near the Burke Road exit at Kew about 5.40pm. A fluid test was conducted, allegedly returning a positive result for drugs.
Two officers had called for back-up from colleagues and were preparing to impound the car, when the semi-trailer slammed into the group in the emergency lane.
Police allege Mr Pusey took photos of the scene before leaving on foot and then sharing the graphic images with friends on Wednesday evening.
Mr Ashton confirmed the pictures were shared with some of Mr Pusey’s friends and later appeared on Facebook.
Mr Ashton urged the public not to circulate them further, while the force has also contacted Facebook to have the images taken down.
A Porsche enthusiast, Mr Pusey regularly uploaded videos on YouTube of him driving the luxury cars.
In one review on the travel site TripAdvisor, he posted photos of his black Porsche and boasted about driving behind the SkyBus to get free WiFi. There is no suggestion Mr Pusey did so by holding his phone or breaking any road rules.
“Me and my Porsche enjoy the day out doing this activity,” he wrote.
Property documents show Mr Pusey has an extensive property portfolio, including stakes in houses in Bonbeach, Templestowe Lower and Doncaster, several units in a block in Doncaster East and six units in a block in South Geelong.
In September last year, he sold a historic Melbourne CBD building for $4.4 million after buying it less than three years earlier for $2.8 million.
Mr Pusey was once the subject of an investigation by Nine’s A Current Affair, which captured him verbally abusing a cancer patient.
In a segment aired in 2016, he shouted at the woman that she should “get some more f***ing cancer” and he hoped she died after he had a dispute with her husband, a tradesman who he had employed on a development project.
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.
Erin covers crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at the Geelong Advertiser.