An Open Letter to New Drivers

It’s nearly 2 months since Libby was taken from us while walking along a footpath on a night out with her boyfriend and friends.

This time I DO want to talk about how she died.

This post is confronting, so if you don’t feel like you can read on, please stop here.

I’m sharing this story with you with the hope that you will share it with a young driver that you know. It won’t bring back our Lib. But it might make your son or daughter think twice before they do something stupid behind the wheel of a lethal weapon. It might prevent another person being killed.

Dear New Driver,

Congratulations on getting your drivers license! Your new found freedom is exciting and will take you on amazing adventures. Having a drivers license is an honour and a privilege that I hope you enjoy for many years to come.

I just wanted to share a story with you.

When I was a teenager, I did an incredibly stupid thing behind the wheel of my car. I thought I was invincible and I thought if I hurt someone, if would only be myself. At age 17 a group of my friends and I drove up to the top of a local hill and dropped ecstasy tablets. We thought it would be fun to see who could drive home before our “hit” started to kick in. Dumb right. Don’t I know it!! That was quite possibly the dumbest thing I’d ever done.

I was lucky though. I didn’t kill myself. Or anyone else.

Libby was incredibly beautiful and pursuing a modelling career. She was working as a dental assistant and was hoping to study dentistry at University so she could change peoples lives through their smiles. She played cello, enjoyed cheerleading, played rugby and loved horses. She had so many friends that loved her. A boyfriend who was planning a life with her. And a family who adored her. Libby was 19 when she was killed. Hit from behind by 2 men (I use that term very loosely) after losing control of their car while “allegedly” (another loose term) doing burnouts. The driver was “allegedly” speeding while the passenger “allegedly” pulled the handbrake to make the car fishtail down the road. They’d done it a couple of times and thought it was funny. They lost control of the car, mounted the curb and plowed into the group of 4 who were walking on a footpath to a nightclub on a Saturday night.

Libby died from severe head injuries. It took the mortician 9 hours to reconstruct her face for her funeral viewing. Her friends Eva and Tye will have injuries forever and her boyfriend of 3 years, Luke, will have that image of his girlfriend for life.

Libby is my cousin and my god-sister. Since the day of her death, smiles have been hard to come by in my family. Tears are plentiful. Christmas was painful this year and it will be for many years to come. Her Mums, Julie and Jules, shudder and cringe at the sound of emergency service sirens. Two months after the loss of their daughter they still struggle with everyday simple tasks. Like breathing. Eating. Living. Libby’s sister Stevie struggles to get out of bed some days. And her big brother Dan will never be the same. 6 men carried her black coffin, including Libby’s young nephew who was incredibly brave, supported by his fathers hand on his shoulder. Her friends cry often and carry a photo of her whenever they go out together. Her extended family think about her constantly and will forever miss the light of our family.

Her extended family think about her constantly and will forever miss the light of our family

But what hurts the most, is the pain of loosing Libby because 2 people thought they were invincible while doing something reckless and stupid behind the wheel of their car. Those 2 had a few minutes of “fun” but they have left us with a lifetime of pain. So when you are driving your car, please think of the machine that you are in control of, as a deadly weapon. Because that’s exactly what it is. I wish I could take back the stupidity of the things I did. I hope you never have to learn these lessons the hard way.

In 2020 over 1.3 million were killed on roads around the world. In Australia alone, over nearly 1,200 people were killed in cars and our Libby was one of the 140+ pedestrians that were killed by lethal weapons. At the time of writing this, 5 pedestrians, four children and one adult, have been hit by a P plate driver in Dubbo, not far from our hometown of Forbes. Early reports are that 2 young children have died. The others are in serious conditions. It’s so unfair that another family will have to experience what we have been experiencing for the last 8 weeks.

Next time you put on your seatbelt and start your car, think of our family that will forever struggle with the loss of our beautiful girl. Think of your family and how they would cope at your funeral. Think of your friends carrying around a photo of you because you’re dead.

Think of Libby.

Love you all, Dee