Wavell Heights Community Mourns Retired School Principal Killed in Hit-and-Run Tragedy

The close-knit community of Wavell Heights is reeling from the loss of retired school principal Ian Colwell, 72, who tragically lost his life in an alleged hit-and-run incident in Chermside.

Described as a beloved figure within the neighbourhood, Mr Colwell’s untimely passing has left friends and neighbours devastated. A dedicated walker, he was struck and fatally injured while crossing Kittyhawk Drive and Murphy Road during his routine morning walk at approximately 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, 21 March 2024. 

Having resided in Wavell Heights for over two decades, Mr Colwell was a familiar face known for his regular walks, undertaken thrice daily.

Community Remembers a Remarkable Man

Fondly remembered for his years of service as a teacher in Papua New Guinea during the Vietnam War, his impact extended far beyond the classroom. 

His friend and former colleague, Terry Edwin Smith, reminisced about their time together, highlighting Mr Colwell’s quiet demeanour and profound knowledge. They served as instructors in military subjects and areas such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Mr Smith expressed disbelief at the tragic circumstances surrounding his passing.

David Innes, a neighbour, portrayed Mr Colwell as a well-regarded community member, noting that he was universally respected. He emphasised that his positive influence was widespread and that no one would speak ill of him. 

Allegations and Arrest

Joshua Alexander Scott, a 35-year-old forklift driver from Joyner, stands accused in this tragic event. According to court documents, Scott allegedly confessed to police that he felt the impact and observed Mr Colwell’s body falling in his rear-view mirror, indicating he knew the pedestrian was injured. 

Mr Scott is alleged to have struck the victim without braking after running a red light, resulting in Mr Colwell’s demise shortly after in hospital. Shockingly,  Mr Scott purportedly continued his journey, driving to a friend’s house where he disclosed his involvement in the incident. 

Ian Colwell Wavell Heights hit and run in Chermside
Photo Credit: QPS

He then contacted his partner, instructing her to erase CCTV footage of him departing in the car and delete their messages, as he planned to dispose of his phone. Subsequently, Mr Scott purportedly travelled to Wavell Heights, where he poured flammable liquid on the driver’s seat of the vehicle and set it ablaze within an hour of the collision.

Authorities assert that Mr Scott showed a “callous disregard” for the consequences of his actions, with the arson posing a significant threat to nearby residences. Following the fire, Mr Scott allegedly returned to his friend’s house before being driven to his workplace in Geebung. He was later apprehended by law enforcement officers at his workplace around 10 am. 

During a police interview, Mr Scott purportedly claimed that the traffic light was green, and he did not see the victim. However, he allegedly failed to provide a reasonable explanation for fleeing the scene or disposing of evidence.

Mr Scott’s court appearance has been adjourned to 15 April 2024, where he is expected to appear via video link. He faces charges of dangerous driving causing death, leaving the scene of an incident without obtaining help, and arson of a motor vehicle.

Published 25-March-2024