René White has been remembered as a ‘‘sensible’’ young woman who shied from the spotlight but was always reliable.
René, 28, died on Tuesday in a head-on car crash on Appin Road while driving back to the Wollongong home she shared with boyfriend Glen Gulisv.
Mr Gulisv said he had been in the middle of making a meal for René when he heard the news.
‘‘It just seemed like I’d met the perfect woman, now all that’s been taken away,’’ he said.
‘‘I just can’t understand why she was taken, she was such an innocent beautiful lady.
‘‘We’d been joking, planning about getting married then having a baby.’’
René, originally from Thirlmere in the Southern Highlands, also left behind three sisters.
The youngest, Ash White, remembered always being on René’s ‘‘team’’ when the sisters would pick on each other.
‘‘I was just always with her, that was the thing,’’ she said. ‘‘She was just always sensible and did everything right.’’
Sister Karen White said René’s passion for animals was unrivalled.
‘‘She used to adopt all these stray animals because she couldn’t bear the thought of them getting put down,’’ Ms White said.
‘‘She had five cats at one point so we called her the crazy cat lady.
‘‘We used to put shit on her saying she’s like an old lady with a rocking chair – she was 27 years old before she even got a boyfriend.’’
Karen said she believed her sister’s death could have been avoided if there was a barrier separating Appin Road.
‘‘It was the head-on that killed her – if that was avoided she just would have scraped the barrier,’’ she said. ‘‘They need to do something.’’
René’s sister Erin said René was a bit of a ‘‘serious type’’.
‘‘Everything had to be prim and proper, she wasn’t a wild child, she did everything by the book,’’ she said.
‘‘She was just nice and caring. She did whatever you needed for you.’’
Best friend Meaghan Tillett said René had ‘‘all the traits everyone would love to have in a friend’’.
‘‘René had a diverse group of friends and was loved by everybody,’’ Ms Tillett said.
‘‘I’ll miss her dearly and feel blessed I experienced that once-in-a-lifetime friendship.’’
Two previous deaths at site of Tuesday’s fatal crash
Tuesday's Appin Road fatality happened on the deadliest section of the road, according to a Roads and Maritime Services report.
A road safety investigation report by RMS in March this year highlighted four ‘‘crash clusters’’ along the stretch of road between Appin township and Bulli Tops.
The deadliest cluster was No4, a 200-metre stretch of road just north of the Loddons Creek bridge, in the middle of a wide bend.
There were 10 crashes in that stretch between July 2008 and June 2013, two of which involved fatalities.
The first occurred on July22, 2011, when Illawarra Stingrays player Ashleigh Connor died after her car veered to the right and crashed into a tree on the opposite side of the road.
The second crash happened in October 2012, when P-plater Thomas Scott-Dobbie died after his Hyundai coupe and a Holden Rodeo utility collided.
Including Tuesday’s crash, all three involved a vehicle crossing to the wrong side of the road.
This would seem to support Heathcote MP Lee Evans’s call for a barrier to be installed in the middle of the road.
The RMS safety report points out that this section of the road was resurfaced last year and a wet weather inspection was required to ‘‘investigate possible sheeting of water on the road surface’’.
If sheeting was detected, work would be carried out to change the profile and alignment of the road. If it was not, further work – including a safety barrier – would be investigated.
‘‘The NSW government-funded safety work completed earlier this year included drainage surveys and roadside curve investigations, which aim to help reduce wet-weather crashes as part of the Appin Road Safety Review,’’ an RMS spokesman said on Thursday.
‘‘Investigations are also under way to understand if centre or median barriers may improve safety.’’
Other work already undertaken on the horror stretch of road include reducing overtaking options to encourage motorists to use the safer overtaking lanes on either side of Loddons Creek bridge and the removal of a bushfire warning sign on the northern entrance to cluster No 4.
- GLEN HUMPHRIES