Police are yet to interview the driver of the Ford Falcon. Picture: Prime 7 News
Police are yet to interview the driver of the Ford Falcon. Picture: Prime 7 News

How and why did 19-year-old Abbey die?

THE cause of a horror car crash which claimed the life of a teenage netball star is no closer to being solved, with investigators so far unable to interview the female driver of the other vehicle who was injured in the accident.

Abbey Stephen, 19, from Taree was driving her Mazda2 near Old Bar, just east of her hometown, about 7.20pm on Tuesday when her car collided with a Ford Falcon driven by Carly Smith, 40.

19-year-old Abbey Louise Stephen was killed in a head-on motor vehicle accident  near Taree, NSW. Picture: Facecbook
19-year-old Abbey Louise Stephen was killed in a head-on motor vehicle accident near Taree, NSW. Picture: Facecbook

Police are investigating whether the Ford crossed onto the wrong side of the road before colliding with Ms Stephen's vehicle, which flipped on impact. Ms Stephen was flown to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital but later died.

Ms Smith was also flown to the hospital with hip, ankle and rib injuries and is in a stable condition. Detectives are investigating the tragedy but have been unable to speak to Ms Smith, who is understood to be too weak to be interviewed.

Police are yet to interview the driver of the Ford Falcon. Picture: Prime 7 News
Police are yet to interview the driver of the Ford Falcon. Picture: Prime 7 News

Police are leaving all lines of inquiry open after witnesses reported seeing the Ford Falcon hit a pole at a nearby Coles just minutes before the crash.

A police source said detectives were waiting to interview Ms Smith but conceded it would be days before mandatory blood and alcohol tests were returned.

"Investigations are continuing but detectives need to wait until her medical condition improves before we can talk to her," the source said.

Ms Stephen was trapped inside the wreckage. Picture: Prime News
Ms Stephen was trapped inside the wreckage. Picture: Prime News

Hours after his dreadful loss Ms Stephen's boyfriend Mick Henry, known as Bubba Doonce, posted a photo tribute to his beloved. Dozens of friends offered their support and condolences, telling him to "stay strong" and sending "so much love".

One posted: "Can't begin to imagine bubba ... My heart goes out to you & the family." Another wrote: "Mate I'm so sorry I really am. I know we haven't seen each other in so long but I mean everything I say bro. My thoughts are with you bubba boi."

Ms Stephen was a talented netballer whose death has devastated the local community.
Ms Stephen was a talented netballer whose death has devastated the local community.

Ms Stephen, a talented athlete, was returning from league tag training with the Taree City Bulls at the time of the crash.

She was also a star player with the Manning Valley Netball Association, which released a statement yesterday, noting her contribution to the sport.

"Our thoughts go out to her family and friends as well as the netball community at this tragic time," it said.

The 19-year-old died later in hospital. Picture: Facecbook
The 19-year-old died later in hospital. Picture: Facecbook


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