PARRAMATTA, Australia — As a police officer, David Vidal has seen many bodies, but he cannot rid himself of the moment he had to identify his high-achieving son.
“That image of Aaron on the table, lying with his life and soul squeezed out of him, replays in my head again and again,” said Vidal, Chief Inspector, to Parramatta District Court on June 4. “I cannot burn that from my memory.”
Constable Aaron Vidal, an expectant father in his dream career alongside his father in the New South Wales Police Force, was killed on his way home from work in June 2020.
The four-year Army veteran’s motorcycle was hit by a car driven by wannabe rapper Tommy Balla, who had run a red light in an intersection in Sydney’s Hills District.
A few minutes of Balla’s time spent waiting at the lights was worthless to the selfish driver than the life of the constable, said Vidal.
“I know he did not do it with intention (of killing Aaron),” he said. “But no one on the roads today does not know the potential running a red light could and, in this case, did have.”
Vidal told the court how his son’s death stripped him of his best friend and passion for policing.
Vidal’s mother lost a piece of her soul. His broken-hearted younger sister forfeited her empathy while a younger brother was robbed of his best man at a future wedding.
Jessica Loh, widowed by the crash, said her life of excitement had turned to a daily struggle, as she cares for their baby born after the crash.
She recalled receiving a doctor’s call confirming the gender of her baby minutes after saying goodbye to her husband at a funeral home.
“I ran back in and held his hand, telling him we are having a boy,” said Loh.
Her last message from Vidal came minutes before he died.
“Got out early, babe, jumping on the bike now,” he texted.
But, uncharacteristically, he never showed up, said Loh.
“I called and messaged repeatedly but still no response.”
A check of a traffic website sparked her worst nightmare before she drove to the crash site.
“I kept repeating, ‘Hang in there, babe, I will be there soon,” she said.
While police officers would not tell her if he was OK, she quickly saw the answer for herself; the constable’s body in the wreckage, his bloodied bag on the ground nearby.
“I felt numb, sick, and empty,” she said. “I started thinking I would lose our baby next.”
The “violent and meaningless tragedy” left her envious of those in her mothers’ group who had husbands to go home to, she said.
“I have a beautiful baby boy, and I am very happy to have him in my life,” she said. “But with each exciting milestone, there’s a reminder of what’s missing.”
Balla, 38, who broke down in tears when the court adjourned for lunch, is due to be sentenced later on June 4.
As per the National Road Safety Strategy reports, there have been 1107 deaths by road accidents in Australia.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Saptak Datta)