The memorial along Broken Head Road near Suffolk Park for the Southern Cross LADS.
The memorial along Broken Head Road near Suffolk Park for the Southern Cross LADS. Marc Stapelberg

10 years on: 'My whole life fell apart'

IT WAS the tragedy that sent shockwaves of grief through the Far North Coast community and left a scar which will never fully heal.

READ THE FAMILIES' HEARTBREAKING STORIES:

On October 21, 2006, after a jovial 18th birthday dinner at Lismore's Mandarin Palace five teens decided to venture to Byron Bay.

On their way home, just after midnight on Sunday morning, the Holden Commodore they were travelling in lost control and crashed.

Kadina High School Year 11 students Bryce Wells, Mitchell Eveleigh, Corey New, and former student Paul Morris all died in the crash.

Only the 17-year-old P-plate driver escaped with his life.

Those who witnessed the grief in the aftermath of the crash say it felt like the entire city of Lismore was in mourning.

Four funerals of four much-loved young men were held in two days.

Ten years later, it is never an easy task for loved ones to reflect on such a tragedy. The loss of their beloved children is still so raw.

But the horrific accident also helped speed the progress of Australia-wide changes to P-plate driver laws, resulting in a dramatic reduction in young driver fatalities.

Today, we tell the stories of the affected families and what they've gone through over the past 10 years.

The Northern Star will also launch a campaign to raise the final funds needed to start construction on what the Southern Cross LADS driver education centre in Lismore.

It's hoped the centre will be a lasting legacy to help ensure such a tragedy will never happen again.



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