Greek-Australian police officer and mother of two killed in horrific car crash in Adelaide

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A high-ranking police officer killed in a horrific three-car collision on Saturday afternoon has been named as Joanne Shanahan (nee Panayiotou), a mother-of-two and well-respected Detective Chief Superintendent.

Chief-Supt Shanahan, 55, was one of two women who died at the scene in Urrbrae in Adelaide’s south following a high-speed car crash about 1.40pm.

Witnesses claimed one of the cars was speeding and had run a red light moments before the deadly collision at the intersection of Cross Road and Fullerton Road. 

Last night SAPOL lost one of its finest and most senior female police officers. Detective Chief Superintendent Joanne…

Posted by South Australia Police on Saturday, 25 April 2020

South Australian Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens, choked back tears as he revealed she had been a passenger in a Holden SUV driven by her husband Peter Shanahan, a former detective, who survived the crash.

“Not only have we lost a beautiful person, we’ve lost a detective with a wealth of knowledge,’ Commissioner Stevens told media on Sunday.  

“We are devastated. I contacted Joanne 6 months a go to interview her mum who is one of the Begona brides. No one expected this,” said Adelaide resident Peter Photakis and Joanne’s ex teacher in Unley High School in the late 70s.

Her last interview:

The Greek Herald ‘s freelance journalist, Argyro Vourdoumpa, spoke to Chief-Supt Shanahan for her last ever interview. She was hailed in the article as an essential worker on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have a wonderful dedicated team around me and we all look out for each other. In tough times, we all have a responsibility to be even more considerate of those around us and make sure they are supported,” she said at the time.

Chief-Supt Shanahan joined SA Police in 1981 and she received an Australian Police Medal last year as part of the Australia Day honours.

Chief-Supt Shanahan was a ‘highly respected’ member of the community. Source: SA Police.

She was only the third woman in the history of the state’s police force to rise to the rank of Chief Superintendent. 

“Coming from quite a strict Greek background and going into the police force as a female was quite significant for my family,” she told The Adelaide Advertiser in January 2019 about her Australia Day award.

“They were totally shocked that their daughter wanted to be a police officer. But when I was accepted they were proud as punch.”

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