‘One of the worst accident scenes’: Community heartbroken as five teens killed in horror crash, driver survives
BUXTON, SYDNEY: Five teenagers who died in a fiery car crash in the southwest of Sydney on Tuesday, September 6, when a Ute smashed into a tree, have been identified by the officials. The horror crash has sent a shockwave through the close-knit town of Buxton and has left the community devastated. The P-plate driver, who was the solo survivor of the car crash has been arrested by the officials.
All teenagers, who died at the scene are identified as Antonio Desisto, Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams, Lily Van De Putte, and Gabriella McLennan—all aged between 14 and 16. The victims were students of Picton High School. The incident happened when a Nissan Navara Ute, in which the teens were traveling with the 18-year-old driver, veered off the road and hit a tree near the Wollondilly Shire village of Buxton at about 8 pm. The impact of the crash tore the car into half and left the teens dead at the scene.
The 18-year-old driver of the car, identified as Tyrell Edwards was rushed to the Liverpool hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The officials later arrested him for mandatory blood and urine testing but is not in police custody. During the interrogation, it came out that Edwards was a former student at Picton High School and was in contact with the teens for a long time. Police are expected to speak with him further today.
Lily Van de Putte’s father John Van de Putte told the media "We don't hold any grudges against the driver because he is going to go through hell."
The horror car crash has left the community heartbroken. Acting Inspector Jason Hogan told the media that the officials are consoling the teens’ families who are obviously devastated. Deputy Secretary for the NSW Department of Education, Murat Dizdar, described the situation as “extremely distressing and disturbing,” revealing the victims of the crash had been at Picton High School since Year 7.
“As the community in New South Wales would appreciate, it’s a deeply distressing phone call to get from NSW Police, where we find out overnight that we’ve lost five young learners,” he said.
In a very heart-wrenching scene, close friends of the dead teens came together at the crash site and paid tributes to their friends. Antonio’s best friend, who was in an inconsolable situation, yelled at the media while waiting for their interviews. "Show some respect," the tearful young man yelled before walking off with his mother.
Flowers continued to be left at the crash site. One bunch of flowers was inscribed with "You will never be forgotten, gotta love, Caiden," while another had the words "Love the memories. You will be missed." Blayze Cox, who was shattered by the news of her best friend’s death fought her tears back and said "I'm feeling a bit shocked and still finding it hard to believe it. She was my best friend and like an older sister to me, I didn't know it would happen so quickly."
Wollondilly Shire mayor Matt Gould said the Buxton community was waking up in shock and mourning.
“The loss of so many young lives is just devastating and you can’t put into words the overwhelming loss many in our community are feeling,” he posted on Facebook. "Our thoughts are with the Picton High and Buxton communities and particularly with the family and friends of those involved, as well as the emergency responders who had to deal with such a heartbreaking scene."
Camden police chief Superintendent Paul Fuller, who was one of the initial officials to report at the crash site described it as “one of the worst accident scenes I have ever come across”. Police are currently investigating whether speed was a major factor behind the horrific car crash. Officials are also trying to determine where the teens were heading and how six people came to be traveling in the Ute, which was registered as a four-seater.
Investigators are appealing for anyone with dashcam footage or information to contact them.