Dan Andrews and his family arrived back in Melbourne airport on Tuesday after a New Zealand holiday, a day after they agreed to hand over phone records linked to a 2013 crash

A day at the beach for former Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his family ended with a cyclist in hospital and sparked a legal saga that continues on a decade later. 

Ryan Meuleman was 15-years-old and riding his pushbike on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in January 2013 when he suffered extensive injuries after a collision with an SUV driven by Mr Andrews’ wife Catherine.

A now-adult Mr Meuleman is suing law firm Slater & Gordon, which he hired after the crash, for allegedly failing to act in his best interest when it negotiated an $80,000 compensation settlement with the Transport Accident Commission.

Mr Meuleman has been seeking Mr and Mrs Andrews’ phone records as part of his case, with his lawyers initially requesting 11 years’ worth but paring this down to just the day of the crash after pushback from lawyers for the couple. 

Mr Andrews had fought against providing even this single day of records, but on Monday backflipped and agreed to hand them over.

What happened?

Mr Andrews called a press conference in 2017, while sitting Premier, to address questions about the crash after a Freedom of Information request was made by media and subsequently denied. 

‘There are a lot of rumours flying around, there’s a lot of pretty awful stuff being peddled around the place, and I want to answer it once and for all,’ Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said he and his wife, along with their three children, were returning to their Mornington Peninsula holiday rental in Sorrento after a morning at the beach.

His wife was behind the wheel of the Ford Territory as it travelled through the coastal town of Blairgowrie when it made a right turn from Melbourne Rd onto Ridley St.

Dan Andrews and his family arrived back in Melbourne airport on Tuesday after a New Zealand holiday, a day after they agreed to hand over phone records linked to a 2013 crash

Dan Andrews and his family arrived back in Melbourne airport on Tuesday after a New Zealand holiday, a day after they agreed to hand over phone records linked to a 2013 crash

The former Victorian Premier was in the passenger seat and his wife Catherine was driving when a collision occurred with a teenage cyclist who is taking his law firm to court, alleging that Slater & Gordon did not act in his best interests

The former Victorian Premier was in the passenger seat and his wife Catherine was driving when a collision occurred with a teenage cyclist who is taking his law firm to court, alleging that Slater & Gordon did not act in his best interests

The Andrews had been driving their Ford Territory SUV to their holiday rental on the Mornington Peninsula (pictured, with the damage to the windscreen)

The Andrews had been driving their Ford Territory SUV to their holiday rental on the Mornington Peninsula (pictured, with the damage to the windscreen)

A bike path runs parallel to Melbourne Rd, which Mr Andrews said was obscured by trees, and which then cuts across Ridley St about 17 metres from the Melbourne Rd intersection.

He said the car came to a complete stop at the intersection, turned right from a ‘stationary position’ and was travelling very slowly.

In her police statement, Ms Andrews said she had ‘turned from Melbourne Rd after coming to a complete stop [and] just after we turned into Ridley St our car was struck heavily on the front driver’s side by a cyclist who it seems was attempting to cross Ridley St at speed from the bike path’.

Mr Andrews said the boy hit their car and smashed the windscreen, sending pieces of glass into the backseat and causing his children to scream.

‘He was moving at speed, he absolutely T-boned the car, hit it at such force he was literally inside the car. That’s how much the windscreen was depressed, he flew up over the car and hit the road,’ he said. 

Mr Andrews said his wife helped the boy, who asked her to call his sister, while he called triple 0.

The teen suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and internal bleeding, and was left with 10 per cent of his spleen. He spent 11 days in The Royal Children’s Hospital.

The then 15-year-old cyclist Ryan Meuleman suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and lost 90 per cent of his spleen (pictured in hospital after the crash)

The then 15-year-old cyclist Ryan Meuleman suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and lost 90 per cent of his spleen (pictured in hospital after the crash)

The intersection where the collision happened, with the bike path visible parallel to Melbourne Rd and crossing Ridley St

The intersection where the collision happened, with the bike path visible parallel to Melbourne Rd and crossing Ridley St

Mr Andrews also shot down suggestions he had been behind the wheel.

‘She [Ms Andrews] was driving, but I wish I had been driving because then maybe she’d be spared some of the quite shameful stuff that’s been put around, and maybe things would be different,’ he said. 

Police bungle and differing accounts

The two junior police officers who attended the scene did not breathalyse the driver, Ms Andrews, as is standard procedure because they had both assumed the other had done it. 

Mr Andrews said one of the officers later apologised to his wife for not conducting the breath test.

Mr Meuleman was also not given the opportunity to make a statement to police about the incident during the investigation, at first being too ill and then officers did not follow up. 

In April 2023, an ambulance report surfaced in the media which was made at the time by paramedics who attended the scene.

It appears to conflict with Mr Andrews account their car was travelling very slowly and the cyclist had ‘T-boned’ them.

The ‘Patient Care Report’ reads: ’15YO on bike. Struck on L side by car travelling 40 to 60kmh … PT onto bonnet, then onto windscreen which cracked on impact … thrown onto roadway’. 

Pictures released in 2022 – grainy photocopies of police originals – show the SUV’s windscreen smashed from a heavy impact on the driver’s side. 

Photocopied police originals show the SUV's windscreen smashed from a heavy impact on the driver's side

Photocopied police originals show the SUV’s windscreen smashed from a heavy impact on the driver’s side

But they also show damage to the front corner bodywork ahead of the front tyre which the Meulemans insist supports their claim the Andrews' family drove into Ryan

But they also show damage to the front corner bodywork ahead of the front tyre which the Meulemans insist supports their claim the Andrews’ family drove into Ryan 

A few months after the ambulance report surfaced, The Herald Sun published the account of a witness, Portsea local and former nurse Jane Crittenden, 66, who was driving to visit a friend and was the first to stumble onto the scene in the aftermath.

In a sworn statement as part of the current legal proceedings, she said she attended to the boy who was lying in the road alternating between screaming and whimpering and got a towel from her car to place under his head.

‘He [Daniel Andrews]… said to me that they were returning from the Sailing Club where they had been having lunch. I distinctly remember him saying these things,’ she said in her statement to the Supreme Court.

‘I did not know [at that point] who Daniel Andrews was … while I was attending to the child, Daniel Andrews said to me words to the effect of “I’m taking my wife and kids home, because they are so distressed”,’ she said.

She said the family then drove away in the badly damaged car shortly after the police arrived and added that she was never interviewed by officers or given the opportunity to make a statement. 

She said she visited the Andrews’ rental house later that day to tell them she believed the boy was going to be okay which prompted Ms Andrews to give her a ‘big hug’.

Mr and Mrs Andrews defended leaving the crash scene after emergency crews arrived saying they were concerned for their young children (the Andrews at Melbourne airport on Tuesday)

Mr and Mrs Andrews defended leaving the crash scene after emergency crews arrived saying they were concerned for their young children (the Andrews at Melbourne airport on Tuesday)

Ms Andrews defended leaving the scene after emergency services arrived when she told reporters in 2022 the couple were concerned for their children.

‘I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved in an accident like this before. It was a terrible thing, so traumatic for everyone involved.’

‘Our kids were really little, like Joseph was only five.’

Police closed the case without pressing charges, and officers were later cleared of any wrongdoing by the corruption watchdog.

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by Mr or Mrs Andrews. 

The court case and why the Andrews’ phone records are important

Mr Meuleman is suing the law firm he hired after the crash, Slater & Gordon.

He claims they did not act in his best interests when they accepted an $80,000 settlement offer by the Transport Accident Commission for his injuries. 

Mr Meuleman recovering in hospital after the crash in 2013

Mr Meuleman recovering in hospital after the crash in 2013

He alleges that the law firm failed to conduct a ‘full investigation into the circumstances’ of the crash and that he was banned from discussing it as part of the settlement.

Mr Meuleman’s lawyer in 2023 said: ‘A determination of who caused the accident is, amongst other matters, an important question to be decided in this proceeding.’

The Andrews’ phone records would shed light on whether they spoke to anyone other than emergency services after the accident.

Of particular interest is who Mr Andrews – then an up-and-coming political figure – called in the aftermath of the crash and whether that included his then chief-of-staff Brett Curran, who went on to be assistant commissioner of Victoria Police. 

Dan Andrews' ex-chief of staff Brett Curran

Dan Andrews’ ex-chief of staff Brett Curran

The court was told the subpoena for documents was initially served in February requesting about 11 years of phone records from the Andrews.

This was reduced, first to six months and later to one month, before Mr Meuleman finally sought just the day of the crash.

Mr Meuleman’s barrister, James Catlin, said he had expected Monday’s hearing to be ‘fiercely contested’, but the Andrews had indicated they would no longer fight the subpoena at 8.05am.

‘As of 4pm yesterday they were still objecting, it’s only at 8am today we get correspondence,’ he said.

Representing the Andrews, Sebastian Campbell told Associate Justice Daly it was appropriate for his clients to initially refuse to hand over the documents sought, labelling the subpoena ‘oppressive’.

What is next in the legal saga?

The documents agreed upon will now have to be supplied to Mr Meuleman’s lawyers by July 25.

Associate Justice Daly said it was ‘abundantly clear’ from the evidence that Monday’s hearing was unnecessary, questioning why the Andrews took two weeks to confirm they would consent to the revised subpoena.

She ordered the Andrews pay Mr Meuleman’s legal costs relating to Monday’s hearing.

The judge said it was reasonable for the Andrews to initially object to the subpoena, ordering Mr Meuleman to pay the costs incurred during negotiations up until June 25.

The civil case will return to court later this year and a trial date is set for early 2025.  

Outside court on Monday, Mr Meuleman’s father, Peter, hailed the progress as ‘one step in a long battle’.

Mr Meuleman's father, Peter, hailed the progress as 'one step in a long battle'

Mr Meuleman’s father, Peter, hailed the progress as ‘one step in a long battle’

‘It’s going to be a long road for us but we’re up to the fight and I want to thank everybody who has supported us and believed in us,’ he said.

He said his family was trying to gather as much evidence as they possibly can, believing the initial police investigation failed to properly examine the incident.

‘It’s taken its toll on Ryan and we’re trying to protect him as much as we can … yes, it’s an expensive ride and we’ll tough it out as long as we can,’ he said.

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