A grieving father, whose daughter was one of five teenagers killed in a horrific crash, has offered to meet the parents of the driver of the car.
Lily Van de Putte (15) died when a Nissan Navara ute collided with two large trees just before 8 p.m. on the East Parade in Buxton in Sydney’s southwest on September 6.
She was murdered along with her Picton High School colleagues Antonio Desisto, Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams and Gabriella McLennan – all between the ages of 14 and 16.
The driver and sole survivor, Tyrell Edwards, 18, has been charged with five charges of dangerous driving and is still in prison on suicide watch.
Now Lily’s father John Van de Putte has approached Edwards’ parents and offered to “give them a hug” – just a week after he buried his daughter.
John Van de Putte (left) has boldly contacted the parents of the driver and survivor of an accident that killed his daughter Lilly (right)
Lily Van De Putte, 15, (pictured) was one of five teenagers who died after the car they were in crashed into a tree and split in two
‘I just want to give them a hug’, Mr Van de Putte said to the… Daily telegram.
“No resentment, no anger … I have to do it before closing.”
Mr Van de Putte said he had heard that Edwards’ parents were ‘nice people’ and that they suffered too.
‘Eventually they suffer too, their son is in prison’ [on remand]’ said Mr Van de Putte.
Police allege P-plater Edwards used his phone to film a Snapchat video of himself swinging 90km/h before allegedly hitting two large trees that split the ute in half and got its passengers out of the car threw.
Despite initial reports that most of the young passengers were not wearing seat belts, Mr Van de Putte claimed that all but one of the passengers were wearing seat belts.
Mr. Van de Putte hopes to use his grief and, together with the government, to adjust the traffic rules as part of ‘Lily’s legacy’.
‘I would like to see speed limiters placed in cars, also for people in black… and repeat offenders, not just P-platers,’ said Mr Van de Putte.
‘The technology is there, so it’s possible.’
Mr Van de Putte said he wants to meet the parents of Tyrell Edward (photo), 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 resulting in death
On September 16, Mr Van de Putte described his daughter as beautiful with a “beautiful heart” to hundreds of mourners who attended her funeral – but also shared funny anecdotes about how she was “not a saint.”
When asked about his last conversation with Lily, the doting father recalled it fondly.
He was about to be taken to hospital for kidney surgery – a relatively standard procedure for people with multiple sclerosis, such as Mr Van de Putte.
Lily was worried, but he tried to reassure her that everything would be all right by giving her one last kiss and hug and saying, “Don’t worry about anything. It’s just a simple operation, I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow.’
The father, who is wheelchair-bound, recalls, “Then she ran up the driveway to give me a hug, and I left.”
Tuesday night, while unconscious, Lily—who was an aspiring electrician—sent him a text that said, “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 entered his hospital room in tears.
Lily’s wheelchair-bound father is overcome with emotion as he places the flower in the hearse as he says goodbye to his daughter
A family friend has a GoFund Me campaign for Lily’s family after the tragic accident.
According to court documents, four of the teens were thrown from the back of the vehicle.
They were found ‘at close range, caught by confinement’.
Edwards was reportedly unable to extricate himself from the wreckage while another victim was trapped in a passenger seat.
Edwards will appear before the NSW Supreme Court on September 26.