Young lovers torn apart by tragic accident
THEIR families described them as a modern day Romeo and Juliet. And as in the Shakespearean story, this love has ended in tragedy.
Tyler Hungerford, 19 and Clara Worsley, 18 were in a single vehicle car accident on September 6 which left Tyler dead and Clara with a broken arm and a broken vertebra.
It was a short drive they were making from Bellara to Ningi to take Clara home but it is now the longest journey that will be remembered forever by Clara, Tyler's mother Sue Burns Venderley and Tyler's siblings Nikki, Andrew, Kirri and Daniel.
Clara remembers the night vividly. They had fallen asleep on the couch and she had woken with a start, knowing that she had to be home at a certain time.
They both jumped in the car, Tyler driving. Clara buckled up and she remembers that Tyler didn't. Something that had never happened before.
Clara was too tired to say anything and quickly fell asleep in the passenger seat. She remembers moments of seeing Tyler indicating and screaming at him, trying to wake him up as he fell asleep at the wheel.
She then woke to the headlights on a tree.
"I could see smoke coming from the car, and I could smell petrol. I was so worried the car was going to blow up."
She tried to wake Tyler up, but knew he was not breathing. With intense pain and her arm bone protruding Clara tried to ring her mother and then the ambulance.
Tyler had died instantly at the scene from a spinal injury.
His father had died 15 years earlier in a car accident of the same injury.
Clara and Tyler had been planning on moving in together and were spending every possible moment together.
The family was unaware they would meet up at the end of Clara's driveway every day at 4am before Tyler drove the hour and a half to work.
Clara still walked to the end of the driveway for several weeks after the accident.
The family is still grieving and coming to terms with the loss of someone they described as the nucleus that kept them together.
Tyler had been a strength to his mother and a bond to his siblings.
"The first to hug someone, the first to shake hands, and the first to make us laugh," was read in his eulogy.
But one message Sue wanted to get across was that people should not drive fatigued.
"I don't know the answer, but young people don't seem to understand that they are not invincible."
"It was a combination of Tyler driving so much to get to work and back and wanting to see Clara," Sue said.
"He wanted to be able to do everything."
Clara and Tyler's entire family wear cremains around their necks to remember him.
Tips to avoid driver fatigue
Fatigue is suspected to be a primary cause in more than 20% of road fatalities.
- Ensure you've had a good quality sleep prior to a long drive.
- Don't drive at times that you would ordinarily be sleeping.
- Never drink alcohol - even small quantities - before and during long trips.
- Share the driving when possible.
- Find a safe place to stop and take a 15 minute powernap.