Two of the five teenagers whose lives were cut short following a horror smash in Sydney’s southwest were a boyfriend and girlfriend who died in the their school uniforms, with the ute’s driver now charged over their deaths.
The tragedy unfolded at 8pm on Tuesday when a Nissan Navara, driven by 18-year-old Tyrell Edwards, slammed into a tree on East Parade in the small town of Buxton, 100km southwest of the city.
Mr Edwards, who was on his P-plates, was the sole survivor of the crash and was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Three girls and two boys, all friends from Picton High School aged between 14 and 16, were killed.
One of the girl’s father’s revealed he’s haunted by a text message he received just hours before the tragedy unfolded where she asked: ‘Dad, can I go out tonight?’.
After the driver was released from hospital, he was arrested just before 2pm on Wednesday and taken to Narellan Police Station – where he was later charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.
Tyrell Edwards, 18, (pictured) has now been charged after the Nissan Navara ute veered off the road and slammed into a tree in southwest Sydney on Tuesday night
He has been refused bail to appear in Picton Local Court on Thursday.
A school friend of the victims told Daily Mail Australia that two of the group were in a romantic relationship when they died together.
He said the couple were in the same maths class and described one of the pair as ‘the nicest man’ who ‘wanted to do so much with his life’.
‘He was really into body building.’
Mr Gordon added the girlfriend had been best friends with another female victim who was ‘nice to everyone at school’.
That girl had texted her father the afternoon of the accident asking if she could go out that night.
But he had been in hospital himself that day undergoing a procedure and missed the text from ‘his baby girl’ while he was in surgery.
‘The answer would have been no, it was a school night. But I never got the text,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Heartbroken family gathered at the site of the crash to lay flowers and pay their respects on Wednesday
Distraught friends and classmates broke down at the scene where five teenagers died. Many laid flowers and notes at the site
He added that he and his family held no grudge against the driver, Mr Edwards, saying that he too is facing a lifetime of grief.
Mr Edwards was found curled up in shock near the split-in-two wreckage of the ute and was able to talk with first responders before he was taken to hospital for treatment and routine tests.
The first person to arrive at the scene was a former nurse who had ‘seen it all’ but described the havoc at the crash site as the ‘worst of the worst’.
One of the victims was flung from the ute’s cab onto the roadway.
‘I tried to do CPR, but only one of them had a pulse. I couldn’t help [her],’ the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she knows the families of the victims, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘They were all still wearing their school uniforms.’
Local firefighter Cindy Morris, who is a mother-of-two, arrived at the horror scene shortly after.
‘That was a very difficult job,’ she told A Current Affair.
‘I’ve been to many fatalities in the area and that was the worst I have ever been to. It is something I will need to process and that will take a bit of time.’
Bunches of flowers have been left by mourners, many Picton High students, at the crash scene
Melissa, a mother who brought her son to lay flowers at the site, said she knew two of the victims and they were were ‘lovely girls’.
‘You could not fault them, always smiling, being cheeky.
She said one was a swimmer and a soccer player and the other was into swimming an gymnastics and had travelled to Amsterdam for the sport.
Of the accident, she said: ‘It’s just heart-wrenching.’
THE CRASH THAT KILLED FIVE TEENS
A Nissan Navara ute was driven by 18-year-old Tyrell Edwards at 8pm on Tuesday night when it crashed into a tree. He survived with minor injuries.
His passengers were a boy aged 16, another boy aged 15, a girl aged 15, and two girls aged 14 who all died at the scene.
Edwards has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death – drive manner dangerous.
‘This is a message to these kids: You’ve got to listen to your parents. You have to be extra careful. Cars are just one weapon.
‘These kids were thinking they were having fun and look what happened.
‘All these kids had a choice, unfortunately they chose to get in the car.’
While speaking about the driver, Melissa said ‘he is going to have to deal with the consequences’.
Friends and relatives flocked to the scene of the accident throughout Wednesday.
The father of a 16-year-old male victim placed a pair of runners at the crash tree and emptied a can of Redbull over the flowers.
Sinking to the ground on his knees, he sobbed and was surrounded by a group of family members who hugged and cried, as one woman yelled, ‘No!’.
He then wandered about the site and picked up a piece of plastic from the debris strewn about the grass.
The boy’s mother was hugged and supported by others, and at one point reached out to touch the tree into which the car carrying her son had crashed.
The family stayed at the site for half an hour and then put their arms around one another as they played the song ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
One of the female victim’s best friends knelt at the crash site and wept as she placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl – photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head.
The teenager was comforted by her family before rising to touch the photo and leaving the site.
A woman could be seen crouching down to pay her respects (pictured)
Other friends, relatives and mourners made their way to the scene of the crash throughout the day (pictured)
One Year 9 student tearfully remembered the five teenagers who died and revealed how she almost joined them on the fateful trip.
‘They wanted me to hang out with them,’ she said after laying flowers at the crash site with her mother.
Tears streaming down her face, she said she had been closest to two of girls, who were top soccer players.
‘[Her] mum did everything for me, drove me to games.
‘I don’t feel like it’s real. I am not coping.
‘Who’s going to get up and get their trophies for soccer, their parents?’
One of the female victim’s friends (pictured with her mother on Wednesday) knelt at the crash site and wept
She cried alongside her mother (pictured) at the scene where her best friend died on Tuesday
She placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl – photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head (pictured)
The schoolgirl said the whole group she had almost gone out driving with, including the two boys, were in Year 9 or 10.
Jamarley Frail, a close friend of the driver Mr Edwards, said the 18-year-old pub worker had been driving another car – his mother’s – when he last saw him.
‘I’ve never seen him in a Nissan. I don’t know whose car that is,’ Mr Frail said, who is also 18 and was the same year at Picton High School as Mr Edwards.
‘I know a lot of the victims in the accident,’ he said.
Remnants of a green P-plate could be scene at the site where five teens died in a car accident
People left flowers and tributes to the five teenagers who lost their lives in a car smash
He also knew one of the girls and spoke with her on the day of the crash, describing her as being ‘like a sister to me.’
‘She was the most beautiful soul.
‘It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m angry at what happened.’
He found out that he knew all the victims of the crash through the grapevine, rather than through official sources.
Jamarley Frail (pictured) is a close friend of the driver Mr Edwards, who is 18 and works at a pub. He also said one of the girls was ‘like a sister to me’
‘One of my mates found out one name, and then one name led to another,’ he said.
Mr Frail said he was glad Mr Edwards survived the crash, but he didn’t know what had happened.
‘I’m not sure. I don’t know why they were in the car with him.’
Camden Police Superintendent Paul Fuller said families of the victims rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash on social media – and that alcohol was not believed to be a factor.
‘It’s a horrific accident scene and a tragedy of this magnitude is going to have ripple effects… for their families, friends and through the local community,’ Supt Fuller said.
‘I’ve been in the police for 38 years and it’s one of the worst accident scenes I’ve ever come across.’
Paramedics were pictured wheeling the male driver towards an ambulance that took the 18-year-old to Liverpool Hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing (pictured)
Five teenagers have been killed in a horror crash around 100km southwest of Sydney
On Wednesday, Picton High School released a statement saying: ‘Our hearts go out to the family and friends of students involved in yesterday’s tragic accident.
‘At Picton High we are prioritising support for our students as they come to terms with this terrible news. Extra counselling support and alternative arrangements will be in place to help our students through this.’
At the school, teenagers hugged and a girl was led crying from the campus.
Students were hurried into the campus where the NSW Department of Education is putting on additional counselling services.
Counselling will also be extended to first responders who attended the horror scene, some of whom would have recognised the victims.