A FAMILY is struggling to comprehend the loss of a four-year-old boy and his mother in Thursday’s tanker crash at Staghorn Flat that also took the life of a second woman.
Lisa Turner, 33, and her son Jack Wallace, 4, of Allans Flat, died when the tanker trailer separated from its prime mover and struck their Holden Captiva SUV wagon at Staghorn Flat.
Peta Cox, 67, of Yackandandah, was killed when the trailer struck her Mazda coupe.
Family members gathered in Thurgoona yesterday to support Ms Turner’s partner, Damien Wallace.
The couple had been engaged for eight years and together for about 11 years.
Damien’s brother, Nathan, said the family was feeling “really empty and lost” and struggling to find answers.
“I guess we’re just a little bit confused about why it’s happened,” he said.
“Damien’s absolutely shattered.”
The young family had lived at Allans Flat for three years, and Damien and Lisa had both grown up on the Border.
Ms Turner, a nurse, had worked at Albury hospital before moving to the Wodonga Pain Management Centre.
Jack, a young boy who loved the outdoors, was the only grandson and great-grandson on both sides of the family.
“He just lit up everyone’s lives when he was around them,” Nathan said.
“He had his little four-wheel electric motorbike he used to use which looked almost bigger than him.
“He would go fishing and camping and run around with the dogs and sheep.
“And Lisa was an absolutely beautiful person, she was such a dedicated mother who adored her son.”
Betty Toleman was a long-time friend of Peta Cox and said she had been devastated to hear of her death.
“She was a very nice person,” Mrs Toleman said.
“She loved playing badminton and she was also a good ballroom dancer.”
Mrs Cox lived at Yackandandah and worked at the Albury Tax Office.
She had lost her husband Ted to cancer about three years ago.
The couple did not have any children.
“She was a very quiet person who kept to herself a bit, but she was a very nice person,” Ms Toleman said.
“It’s very sad.”
Damien Wallace paid tribute to his partner and son in a notice in today’s The Border Mail.
“While I cry, you sleep forever, smiling and always in my heart,” he said.
“Life was too short, but to me you will forever grow and be with me.
“I will always be grateful to have had my darlings in my life.”
A child’s toy, daffodils and wattle had been left at the site of the crash yesterday in tribute to the victims.
“We’re gathering around my brother,” Nathan Wallace said.
“We’re just trying to be around each other and we’ve got a lot of friends and family coming from around the country to visit.
“I don’t think we know exactly what we’re doing, we’re just trying to be there for each other.”
Ms Turner was passionate about dogs, and had about six foxhounds which she had bred.
A neighbour of the couple at Allans Flat, Jenny Watkins, said she had often spoke to Ms Turner when she saw her and remembers Jack riding around on his motorbike at the property.
“She was very nice and loved her animals to bits,” she said.