Buxton ute smash: Incredible gesture from father of dead teen

Incredible gesture made by the father of one of five teens killed in horror ute smash to parents of alleged P-plate driver

  • Lily Van de Putte, 15, died alongside her high school peers in a horror ute crash 
  • The driver and sole survivor, Tyrell Edwards, 18, charged with dangerous driving 
  • Lily’s father John has offered to meet Edwards’ parents and ‘give them a hug’ 

A grieving father whose daughter was one of the five teenagers killed in a horrific ute crash has offered to meet with the parents of the driver of the car.

Lily Van de Putte, 15, died when a Nissan Navara ute smashed into two large trees on East Parade in Buxton in Sydney‘s southwest, just before 8pm on September 6. 

She was killed alongside her Picton High School peers Antonio Desisto, Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams and Gabriella McLennan – all aged 14 to 16.

The driver and sole survivor, Tyrell Edwards, 18, has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving and remains in jail on suicide watch.

Now, Lily’s father John Van de Putte has reached out to the parents of Edwards and offered to ‘give them a hug’ – just one week after burying his daughter.

John Van de Putte (left) has courageously reached out to the parents of the driver and survivor of a crash that killed his daughter Lilly (right)

John Van de Putte (left) has courageously reached out to the parents of the driver and survivor of a crash that killed his daughter Lilly (right)

Lily Van De Putte, 15, (pictured) was one of five teens killed after the car they were in smashed into a tree and split in two

Lily Van De Putte, 15, (pictured) was one of five teens killed after the car they were in smashed into a tree and split in two 

‘I just want to give them a hug,’ Mr Van de Putte told the Daily Telegraph.  

‘No hard feelings, no anger … I need to do it for closure.’ 

Mr Van de Putte said the he had heard Edwards’ parents were ‘nice people’ and believed they were suffering as well. 

‘At the end of the day, they are suffering too, their son is in jail [on remand]’, Mr Van de Putte said.   

Police allege P-plater Edwards was using his phone to film a Snapchat video of himself swerving at 90km/hour, before he allegedly hit two large trees which split the ute in two – throwing his passengers from the car. 

Despite initial reports alleging most of the young passengers were not wearing seatbelts, Mr van de Putte alleged that all passengers were wearing seatbelts, aside from one. 

Mr Van de Putte hopes to use his grief and work with the government to change road rules as part of ‘Lily’s legacy’.

‘I’d like to see speed immobilisers put in cars, for people on their blacks too … and repeat offenders, not just P-platers,’ Mr Van de Putte said.

‘The technology is there, so it can be done.’

Mr Van de Putte said he wants to meet with the parents of Tyrell Edward (pictured), who was the driver and sole survivor of the crash, to give them a hug. The 18-year-old, has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death

Mr Van de Putte said he wants to meet with the parents of Tyrell Edward (pictured), who was the driver and sole survivor of the crash, to give them a hug. The 18-year-old, has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death

On September 16, Mr Van de Putte described his daughter was beautiful with a ‘beautiful heart’ to hundreds of mourners attending her funeral – but also shared funny anecdotes about how she was ‘no saint’. 

When asked about his last conversation with Lily, the doting dad remembered it fondly.

He was about to be taken to hospital before kidney surgery – a relatively standard procedure for people who have multiple sclerosis, like Mr Van de Putte.

Lily was worried, but he tried to assure her that everything would be OK, giving her one last kiss and hug and saying: ‘You have nothing to worry about. It’s only a simple operation, I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow.’

The father, who is wheelchair-bound, recalled: ‘Then she ran out into the driveway to give me a hug, and I left.’

Overnight on Tuesday, while he was unconscious, Lily – who was an aspiring electrician – sent him a text message that read: ‘Dad, can I go out?’

He read that message on Wednesday morning, and said he knew she was gone because he had multiple missed calls and his son came into his hospital room in tears.

Lily's wheelchair-bound father is overcome by emotion as he places the flower inside the hearse as he says a final good bye to his daughter

Lily’s wheelchair-bound father is overcome by emotion as he places the flower inside the hearse as he says a final good bye to his daughter

A family friend set up a GoFund Me campaign for Lily’s family following the tragic accident.  

According to court documents, four of the teens were thrown from the back of the vehicle.

They were found a ‘short distance away, trapped by confinement’.

Edwards was allegedly unable to free himself from the wreck, while another victim was trapped in a passenger seat.    

Edwards will face NSW Supreme Court on September 26. 

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