Woman spent last moments trying to save pet and good friend

RICHELLE Newell’s last breaths were spent desperately trying to save herself, her good friend and her beloved dog, her family has been told.

Devastated father Ian Newell said this morning that witnesses have told him how they watched on as Ms Newell attempted to take control of the car being driven by close mate and neighbour John Hudson along John Renshaw Drive on Friday morning.

Unfortunately, her attempts failed.

Both Ms Newell, 40, and Mr Hudson, 74, as well as her beloved labrador Mystie, died when the hatchback collided with two four-wheel drives.

The investigation will look into whether Mr Hudson may have had a heart attack or suffered another medical condition.

‘‘In a small way we think it may be better both went,’’ close friend Michelle Ballard said.

‘‘If one had survived they wouldn’t have been able to live with the guilt.’’

The pair, who lived just doors apart at Kurri Kurri, where heading to Green Hills for a vet’s appointment for Mystie.

Mystie’s remains are being taken back to Mr Newell’s family home today and will be buried in the backyard.

Mr Newell said his daughter was an animal lover who had become friendly with many Kurri Kurri residents because of her daily walks.

‘‘Everyone who had an animal in the yard knew her,’’ he said.

‘‘She would know the name of every cat and dog up that hill she walked, every one of them.’’

Ms Newell was a volunteer helping the elderly and was to graduate from TAFE on Thursday from a computer skills course.

‘‘She was improving herself and her life,’’ Ms Ballard said.

‘‘I don’t think she realised how much she was loved.

‘‘I don’t think she thought she mattered to anyone.

‘‘So many lives are better because she was a part of them.

‘‘She is the most religious person I have ever met; if there is a God, she will be sitting right next to him right now.’’

Crash investigators are still looking into how Mr Hudson drifted onto the wrong side of John Renshaw Drive in 40kmh roadworks zone near the new Hunter Expressway at the intersection with George Booth Drive.

But Mr Newell said several motorists had been able to drive around the car, including some who recognised his daughter as the front seat passenger.

He said those people had told him she was trying to grip the steering wheel as the car careered into the other lane.

Mr Newell said Mr Hudson had a history of heart complaints.

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