A FATHER and several teenagers told yesterday how they desperately tried to prevent two school friends cramming into the boot of an overloaded car shortly before it crashed, killing them both.
St Ignatius Riverview students Billy O'Connor and Sam Turner died instantly when the car packed with six girls slammed boot first into a power pole on a wet Mona Vale Rd at Ingleside on Sydney's northern beaches on Saturday.
Yesterday, school friends of the two, aged 18 and 17, spoke of last-minute attempts to stop them from getting in the boot of the Volkswagon Golf hatch being driven by a 17-year-old girl, a student from Queenwood School at Mosman.
The Year 12 students were at a joint 18th birthday party for classmates Ross Walsh and Angus Campbell at Ingleside when the girl offered to ferry partygoers from the house to Mona Vale. She was on her fourth lap when the accident happened, just two streets from the party.
"One of the boy's dads and another kid tried to stop them from getting into the boot," a fellow partygoer and Riverview student said.
"But they still got in. We still can't believe this has happened."
The boy and his friend earlier had ridden with the girl.
"She seemed fine," the boy said of the driver. "She was just doing everyone a favour. We all feel sorry for her."
St Ignatius headmaster Shane Hogan was woken by a phone call from the Year 12 boarding master, whom the remaining Riverview boys at the party had contacted when they learned of the accident.
By 2.15am Mr Hogan was at the party himself, ascertaining what had happened.
He was told that the VW
was overloaded with eight passengers and that the boys had been advised by peers not to travel in the boot.
"There were kids standing there saying 'This is a silly thing to do'. They'd asked the boys to get out of the boot," he said.
"This is an appalling accident that should never have occurred. They made an appalling judgment."
Police said yesterday the driver and her passengers still were too distraught to be interviewed.
Although police have said beer cans were found at the crash scene, Mr Hogan denied the party was a boozy affair.
"I was told that the beer ran out quite early and that people had begun to leave by 12.30am, which is quite subdued for an 18th," he said.
Schoolmates of the two boys yesterday pinned a Riverview school jersey and messages on the power pole in tribute to the two talented sportsmen.
A message read: "To Wammy and Billy, you'll live in our hearts and memories forever, all our love, from the View Boys."
Harden Rugby Club captain Danny Flannery said the O'Connor family was a huge part of the club and that Billy's father Peter had helped start the club.
"Everyone knows the O'Connors," Mr Flannery said yesterday. Billy was "very energetic and a good little footballer too".
"It will rock Harden for a long time," he said.
Mr Flannery said the entire rugby club was close to the family and would be at the funeral today.
I think there is only so much you can do with teenagers in cars, our government is struggling to come up with a solution to try and lower the death toll in a group who feels that they don't need to be told anything about driving and who feel they are the best drivers on the road. Time after time we read about accidents like this, caused by inexperience and poor driving skills yet all attempts to wake the kids up fail.
I'm not sure there is an answer, but not a week goes by when we're not faced with a horific accident involving teenagers in cars... I wonder what the solution is.