THE death of a teenage girl on a country road at Brandy Hill has sent two families into devastation and left a street struggling to deal with the effects they know will linger for years to come.
The 17-year-old girl died on Monday while walking to the school bus stop a few hundred metres from her home on Warrigal Close.
The Hunter School of the Performing Arts student was allegedly struck by a 42-year-old neighbour, who has since been charged with dangerous and negligent driving occasioning death.
Floral tributes left by the side of the road tell a story of a life taken too soon, and in gut-wrenching circumstances.
“So so sad,” one reads.
Witnesses told the Newcastle Herald two cars were passing on the narrow road about 7.30am before a Toyota Prado struck the teenager.
The driver of the Prado, who lives just a few doors down from where the girl lives, had three children in the car at the time.
“It is a tragedy all round,” resident Paul Lowrey said.
“Whatever way you look at it – the lives of two families have changed forever. It’s the knock-on effects that stay.”
Read more: Shining the light on country road toll
Mr Lowrey described his neighbour as a girl who “had her whole life ahead of her”.
“She was in year 12, a time when she was just about to go and chase all her dreams,” he said.
“Her life has been cut short and that’s the saddest thing of all.”
Bronwyn Lowrey said the bright teen, who occasionally babysat her son, told her of her aspirations to study at university.
She said her daily commute from Brandy Hill to Newcastle for school showed that she was committed.
“She always had a smile on her face,” Mrs Lowrey said.
“She was a responsible, conscientious young girl who had her whole future.
“I don’t have a daughter, but she’d be a daughter you’d be really proud of.”
The school described her as “very artistic” and a “very popular member of the school community”.
The driver was charged on Monday afternoon after being taken into Raymond Terrace police station for questioning, while crash investigators returned to Warrigal Close on Tuesday.
The driver was granted conditional bail to appear in court on March 27.
There have been eight fatal crashes in the Hunter since January, or, nearly two deaths per week since the start of the year. Three people have died on Hunter roads since Saturday, including a 36-year-old woman who died as recently as Tuesday morning at Denman.
The horrific road toll comes as Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday new rules to combat drink-driving and driver distraction.