Buxton crash: Picton High teenager Antonio Desisto’s father Joey sinks to his knees in tribute


The heartbroken father of one of the five teenagers killed in the horror ute smash in Sydney’s south-west has collapsed in grief at the tragic crash site.

Joey Desisto was overcome by emotion at the tree where his son Antonio, 16, was killed along with his 14- and 15-year-old mates Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams, Lily Van De Putte and Gabriella McLennan.

The five died when a Nissan Navara ute they were passengers in veered off the road in Buxton, 100km southwest of the city,  just after 8pm on Tuesday and smashed into the tree. 

Driver Tyrell Edwards, 18, was the sole survivor and was arrested on Wednesday evening and taken to Narellan police station.

Mr Desisto and his wife Belinda appeared at the crash site on Wednesday afternoon where the grieving father placed a pair of Antonio’s white runners and his sweatshirt at the foot of the scarred tree trunk.

Heartbroken Joey Desisto (in white), father of Antonio Desisto, one of the five teenagers killed in the horror ute smash in Sydney’s south-west, has collapsed in grief at the tragic crash site

Joey Desisto (in blue) and his wife Belinda, pictured right, made a heart-wrenching pilgrimage to the crash scene on Wednesday

Joey Desisto (in blue) and his wife Belinda, pictured right, made a heart-wrenching pilgrimage to the crash scene on Wednesday

They laid a floral tribute to their son along with his white trainers and sweatshirt

They laid a floral tribute to their son along with his white trainers and sweatshirt

Parents Joey and Belinda Desisto hugged in an emotional embrace as they played songs in tribute to their son

Parents Joey and Belinda Desisto hugged in an emotional embrace as they played songs in tribute to their son

Joey Desisto, in blue, sank to his knees after he was overcome with emotion at the tree where his son died with four other mates

Joey Desisto, in blue, sank to his knees after he was overcome with emotion at the tree where his son died with four other mates

Joey Desisto, centre, was inconsolable with grief at the crash site

Joey Desisto, centre, was inconsolable with grief at the crash site

The teen had recently left Picton High School to start a carpentry apprenticeship. 

His father then ritually emptied a can of Red Bull soft drink over the floral tributes that had been laid at the base of the tree in memory of the dead youngsters.

Sinking to the ground on his knees, the devastated dad sobbed as he was surrounded by family members who hugged and cried as his wife yelled ‘NO’ in grief.

Mr Desisto then picked himself up and wandered around the crash scene, feeling his way through the grass at the site to collect some of the debris strewn by the impact. 

Antonio Desisto (pictured) died in a car accident at about 8pm on Tuesday. He was in the vehicle with six of his friends

Antonio Desisto (pictured) died in a car accident at about 8pm on Tuesday. He was in the vehicle with six of his friends

Pictured: Summer Williams, who was only 14 when she died on Tuesday night in a car accident

Pictured: Tyrese Bechard, who died with his friends in a car crash on Tuesday night

Pictured left: Summer Williams, who was only 14 when she died on Tuesday night in a car accident. Right: Tyrese Bechard

Lily Van De Putte (pictured) sadly died with her four of her friends in a ute smash on Tuesday night, south-west of Sydney

Gabriella McLennan (pictured) was one of the teenage victims from the horror smash on Tuesday. She tragically died the scene

Lily Van De Putte (pictured left) sadly died with her four of her friends in a ute smash on Tuesday night, south-west of Sydney. Right: Gabriella McLennan

Tyrell Edwards, 18, (pictured) has now been arrested after the Nissan Navara ute veered off the road and slammed into a tree in southwest Sydney on Tuesday night

Tyrell Edwards, 18, (pictured) has now been arrested after the Nissan Navara ute veered off the road and slammed into a tree in southwest Sydney on Tuesday night

His wife had to be supported by friends and relatives as she emotionally reached out to touch the tree where their son died. 

It’s believed the ute slid on its side into the tree, crushing the vehicle’s cabin and killing the five teens inside.

The family stayed at the site for half an hour as they held their own private memorial, putting their arms around one another as they played the song Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

Mr Desisto then lay down on the ground hugging his wife at the tragic spot as Prince’s Purple Rain and Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd rang out.

A shattered green P plate at the scene was a heartbreaking reminder of the tragedy

A shattered green P plate at the scene was a heartbreaking reminder of the tragedy

The grieving father accepts an embrace from a loved one

The grieving father accepts an embrace from a loved one 

Grieving friends and relatives gather at the crash scene and offered each other support

Grieving friends and relatives gather at the crash scene and offered each other support

The tragic scene was overwhelming for the devastated parents

The tragic scene was overwhelming for the devastated parents

Mother belinda Desisto had to be supported by friends and relatives as she emotionally reached out to touch the tree where their son died

Mother belinda Desisto had to be supported by friends and relatives as she emotionally reached out to touch the tree where their son died

Nearby a young woman believed go be a relative of Tyrese Bechard placed a pair of football boots at the site.

John van de Putte, father of victim Lily, told the ABC he ‘doesn’t hold any grudges’ against driver Tyrell Edwards because ‘he is going to go through hell’.

Mr Edwards, who had just graduated from Picton High, was arrested for mandatory blood and urine testing but is not in police custody. He returned a negative result when he was breathalysed at the scene.

He observation in Liverpool hospital being treated for non life-threatening injuries as of Wednesday morning. No charges have been laid.

The horror crash has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit town of Buxton as devastated locals attempt to make sense of the tragedy.

In emotional scenes, one of Miss McLennan’s best friends knelt at the crash site and wept as she placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl – photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head.

The teenager was comforted by her family before rising to touch the photo for one last time before leaving the site.

Antonio’s best friend also became emotional at the crash site, and angry at the waiting media.

‘Show some respect,’ the tearful young man yelled before walking off with his mother.

In emotional scenes, one of Miss McLennan's best friends knelt at the crash site and wept as she placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl - photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head

In emotional scenes, one of Miss McLennan’s best friends knelt at the crash site and wept as she placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl – photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head

Others kept a respectful distance as they paid their respects to the five dead teenagers

Others kept a respectful distance as they paid their respects to the five dead teenagers

Jamarley Frail, a close friend of the driver Mr Edwards, said the 18-year-old pub worker had been driving another car – his mother’s – when he last saw him.

‘I’ve never seen him in a Nissan. I don’t know whose car that is,’ Mr Frail said, who is also 18 and was the same year at Picton High School as Mr Edwards.

‘I know a lot of the victims in the accident,’ he said.

He also knew Summer Williams and spoke with her on the day of the crash, describing her as being ‘like a sister to me.’

‘She was the most beautiful soul.

‘It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m angry at what happened.’

He found out that he knew all the victims of the crash through the grapevine, rather than through official sources. 

‘One of my mates found out one name, Tyrrell’s and them one name led to another,’ he said.

Mr Frail said he was glad Mr Edwards survived the crash, but he didn’t know what had happened.

‘I’m not sure. I don’t know why they were in the car with him.’

One of Miss McLennan's best friends (pictured with her mother on Wednesday) knelt at the crash site and wept

One of Miss McLennan’s best friends (pictured with her mother on Wednesday) knelt at the crash site and wept

She placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl - photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head (pictured)

She placed a photograph of the victim as a young girl – photoshopped with a yellow halo over her head (pictured)

Jamarley Frail (pictured) is a close friend of the driver Mr Edwards, who is 18 and works at a pub. He also said Miss Williams was 'like a sister to me'

Jamarley Frail (pictured) is a close friend of the driver Mr Edwards, who is 18 and works at a pub. He also said Miss Williams was ‘like a sister to me’

Flowers continued to be left at the crash site.

One bunch of flowers was inscribed with ‘you will never be forgotten, gotta love, Caiden’, while another had the words ‘love the memories. You will be missed’.

Just after 10.30am a flurry of mourners arrived with flowers to add to the growing mass of cellophane and blooms at the base of the rash tree. 

One teenage girl sobbed openly as she placed her bunch of flowers on top of the other bouquets. 

Meanwhile, a woman and man tightly embraced for several minutes in a bush clearing across the road from the crash site. 

Paramedics were pictured wheeling the male driver towards an ambulance that took the 18-year-old to Liverpool Hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing (pictured)

Paramedics were pictured wheeling the male driver towards an ambulance that took the 18-year-old to Liverpool Hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing (pictured) 

Friends and family arrived at the scene of the crash on Wednesday morning to leave flowers and show their respect

Friends and family arrived at the scene of the crash on Wednesday morning to leave flowers and show their respect 

'Gone too soon,' one message read, written on a box of flowers. Another left a small light by the tree

‘Gone too soon,’ one message read, written on a box of flowers. Another left a small light by the tree

Two teenage girls with yellow chrysanthemums and two boys with white flowers laid their tributes and were comforted by two adult women.

One mother at the scene was too distraught to speak about the tragedy at length, saying: ‘I’m sorry. So sad. Too young.’

A handwritten tribute to one of the dead teenagers said they were ‘gone too soon’ and had brought ‘so much kindness to this world’. 

A weeping teenage boy visited the site with a girl and adult woman who hugged him as they stood quietly observing the tragic scene. 

An old set of car keys for a Subaru have been placed inside one of dozens of bouquets of flowers left for the five young victims. 

Year 9 classmate Elly Mount tearfully remembered the five teenagers who died and revealed how she almost joined them on the fateful trip.

Distraught friends and classmates broke down at the scene where five teenagers died. Many laid flowers and notes at the site

Distraught friends and classmates broke down at the scene where five teenagers died. Many laid flowers and notes at the site

Year 9 classmate Elly Mount (pictured) tearfully remembered the five teenagers who died and revealed how she almost went joined them on the fateful trip

Year 9 classmate Elly Mount (pictured) tearfully remembered the five teenagers who died and revealed how she almost went joined them on the fateful trip

The horror crash has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit town of Buxton as devastated locals attempt to make sense of the tragedy (pictured, young mourners at the scene)

The horror crash has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit town of Buxton as devastated locals attempt to make sense of the tragedy (pictured, young mourners at the scene)

‘They wanted me to hang out with them,’ Miss Mount said after laying flowers at the crash site with her mother, Amy Cook.

Tears streaming down her face, Miss Mount said she had been closest to two of the sisters, who were top school soccer players.

‘[One of my friends] was an amazing goalie. [Her] mum did everything for me, drove me to games.

‘I don’t feel like it’s real. I am not coping.

‘Who’s going to get up and get their trophies for soccer, their parents?’

The schoolgirl said the whole group she had almost gone out driving with, including the two boys, were in Year 9 or 10.

A woman and man tightly embraced for several minutes in a bush clearing across the road

A woman and man tightly embraced for several minutes in a bush clearing across the road 

Bunches of flowers have been left by mourners, many Picton High students, at the crash scene

Bunches of flowers have been left by mourners, many Picton High students, at the crash scene

Blayze Cox, a young girl who woke up without her ‘best friend’ on Wednesday morning, fought back tears at the scene. 

‘I’m feeling a bit shocked and still finding it hard to believe it. She was my best friend and like an older sister to me,’ she told the Today Show. 

‘I didn’t know it would happen so quickly.’ 

Her mother was similarly distressed and at one point put her head in her hands. 

‘I feel sorry for the family and I’m obviously worried about my girls. They’re so upset about the whole thing and so am I, it’s so awful,’ she said. 

Miss Cox told Daily Mail Australia her friend was a ‘very energetic and kind hearted girl’.

‘She was 14 and loved to go to the beach, listen to country music and most of all she loved her friends and family dearly,’ she said.

‘I will remember her by her smile and her beautiful laugh.’ 

Friends of those involved in a fatal car accident pulled each other into a tight hug at the scene

Friends of those involved in a fatal car accident pulled each other into a tight hug at the scene

Blayze Cox, one of the victim’s best friends, (left) said she still trying to process the loss while her distressed mother (right) struggled to find the words to express her grief

Camden Police Superintendent Paul Fuller said families of the victims rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash on social media (pictured, East Parade, Buxton)

Camden Police Superintendent Paul Fuller said families of the victims rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash on social media (pictured, East Parade, Buxton)

Camden Police Superintendent Paul Fuller said families of the victims rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash on social media – and that alcohol was not believed to be a factor. 

He said not all of the teenagers had been formally identified as of Wednesday morning, and officers were working with the families.

‘It’s a horrific accident scene and a tragedy of this magnitude is going to have ripple effects… for their families, friends and through the local community,’ he said. 

‘I’ve been in the police for 38 years and it’s one of the worst accident scenes I’ve ever come across.’ 

On Wednesday, Picton High School released a statement saying: ‘Our hearts go out to the family and friends of students involved in yesterday’s tragic accident.

‘At Picton High we are prioritising support for our students as they come to terms with this terrible news. Extra counselling support and alternative arrangements will be in place to help our students through this.’

At the school, teenagers hugged and a girl was led crying from the campus.

Students were hurried into the campus where the NSW Department of Education is putting on additional counselling services.

Counselling will also be extended to first responders who attended the horror scene, some of whom would have recognised the victims. 

Five teenagers have been killed in a horror crash around 100km southwest of Sydney

Five teenagers have been killed in a horror crash around 100km southwest of Sydney

Two distraught people are pictured at the scene of a crash on Tuesday night

Two distraught people are pictured at the scene of a crash on Tuesday night

A Buxton local, Stuart, who lives 12 doors down from the crash site said he heard a vehicle go past but would not say whether or not he thought it was speeding. 

‘The road is quite narrow, there’s no street lights and the trees are half a metre off the road,’ he told Radio 2GB. 

A man who lives near to the crash scene said he heard sirens shortly after the incident and saw a helicopter land in a nearby field.

‘We heard the emergency services vehicles responding really quickly and saw the lights flashing, it lit up the whole street,’ Justin Davis told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Davis said the area is normally very quite.

‘Even when kids ride their motorbikes along the streets they do it quietly,’ he said. 

Police officers and emergency service workers are pictured at the crash scene on Tuesday

Police officers and emergency service workers are pictured at the crash scene on Tuesday

The Nissan Navara was seen crumpled against a tree from the impact of the horror smash

The Nissan Navara was seen crumpled against a tree from the impact of the horror smash

Mayor of Wollondilly Shire Matt Gould said his ‘entire shire is waking up in shock and mourning’ on Wednesday. 

‘I don’t even have the words for how horrible this is,’ he said.

‘How do you even begin to process a loss like this? This is one of the most tragic accidents we have had in many many years.

‘We are a very close knit community. Our hearts go out to all the family and friends in the small village of Buxton.’

Local MP Nathaniel Smith said he had spoken with Picton High School’s school captain and that she had been ‘upset’. 

He said the school community was taking the news ‘pretty hard’. 

Superintendent Adam Druber told the Today Show that despite the best efforts of emergency crews ‘there wasn’t much anyone could do’ for the victims. 

‘A complication around these types of incidents, especially in these communities, is a lot of the emergency service workers possibly know the victims, which adds that extra complexity to what we do in the community,’ he said. 

In an official statement on Tuesday night NSW Police said: ‘Three female and two male passengers all believed to be of similar age, died at the scene.’ 

Fire and Rescue NSW said numerous emergency crews attended ‘at a serious crash on East Parade involving numerous casualties’.

A medical team that arrived by helicopter also attended.

Police are appealing for anyone with dashcam footage or information about this incident to contact them, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk