A father whose son was fatally struck by an out-of-control car on Christmas Day has embraced the driver allegedly responsible during an emotional encounter at a church service in Brisbane.
Josiah Sisson, 9, was viewing Christmas lights with his family in Springwood, south of Brisbane, on Sunday evening, when a car failed to make a nearby turn.
The vehicle struck a parked car, police say, and ran the child over. Josiah was taken to hospital but died on Tuesday.
Adrian Murray, 24, has since been charged with one count each of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and driving a motor vehicle while under the influence.
Murray and Josiah’s father, Pastor Karl Sisson, encountered each other after a regular mid-week service at a Brisbane church earlier this week.
Pastor Peter Field said Murray had collapsed into the arms of the boy’s father.
The pair shared an embrace that was captured in a series of powerful photos that went viral online, before being released by Field on Friday.
“It’s very challenging personally when I see those [pictures], because it confronts me with whether I would be man enough and large-hearted enough to act with such mercy,” Field told Guardian Australia. “I can say how ‘we should do this, and we should do that’, it’s another thing to actually do it.”
Murray will face Beenleigh magistrates’ court on 14 February.
Field said a funeral for Josiah would be held next Saturday at the Potter’s House Church in Strathpine, Brisbane. He was in daily contact with the boy’s family, and said their grief was immense.
“It’s dreadful,” Field said. It’s probably not a daily thing, it’s an hourly thing. You can get on top of it, and then the next hour you’re back down again.”