"Heart of gold": Tributes for Walla care worker who died in Culcairn crash

A WALLA woman with a “heart of gold” and a “passion for helping old folk”, died yesterday in a single-car crash near Culcairn.
Carlene Kuhle, 36, was returning home from a night shift at Holbrook Village Hostel when she lost control of her Ford Falcon on a sweeping bend on the Culcairn-Holbrook Road, two kilometres east of the town, and hit a tree.
Albury police Insp Dave Cottee said the aged care worker died at the scene.
Ms Kuhle’s partner, Herby Coyle, was the last person to speak to her.
“She rang and said she was on her way home, but she never arrived,” he said.
“She is usually home just before 8am, so I rang her work and was trying to see if she had broken down.
“I went for a drive and must have driven straight past her.”
Insp Cottee said a man walked into the Culcairn police station just before 8am and reported a car crashed among trees.
“The car was a little hidden, so it was not immediately obvious,” he said.
Police suspect fatigue was a factor in the crash.
“Driver fatigue is always an issue, but particularly an issue for shift workers,” Insp Cottee said.
“If you need to take that break, please do and don’t push yourself to get home.”
A Wagga man, 62, died on the same stretch of road in a three-car crash in August.
Mr Coyle made plans yesterday afternoon to meet Ms Kuhle’s father at Violet Town to make funeral arrangements.
“We had been seeing each other for nine months and were very happy together,” he said.
“She was the kind of woman who cared about everyone else before herself.
“She loved looking after the old folks at the hostel and would come home with stories to tell.”
Ms Kuhle had worked at the hostel for just three months.
She worked at Baranduda’s Westmont Aged Care Services for three years before that.
Her Holbrook colleagues were still in shock yesterday.
UPA Murray Region manager Marianne Warren said Ms Kuhle had a “heart of gold”.
“She was a hard worker and had a passion for caring for the residents,” she said.
“Even though she was only with us for a short time, she was very much respected and adored by staff and residents.
“She will be missed. We would have liked to have had her with us longer.”
Any information about the crash can be phoned to Albury police on 6023 9299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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