A friend has revealed how she decided not to join a fatal car trip that ended with a teenage driver — who only had her P-plates for a matter of hours — dead and two other girls airlifted to hospital.
- Teenager Kimberley Berente lost control of her car and crashed on an unsealed road
- Tributes are flowing on social media for the former Halls Head College student
- WA’s Deputy Premier has called it a “horrible and tragic set of circumstances”
Kimberley Berente, 17, had received her provisional driver’s licence on Tuesday morning before she was killed in a car crash south of Perth in the early afternoon.
The former Halls Head College student was driving with two 16-year-old friends as passengers down a dirt road in Bouvard, near Mandurah, when she lost control of her car and rolled it shortly after midday.
She died at the scene.
Major Crash investigators continue to investigate the accident, but told reporters they did not believe speed or dangerous driving were factors in the crash, rather it appeared to be driver inexperience on an unsealed road.
Friends left heartbroken
Ms Berente’s friends have taken to social media to mourn and remember her.
Helena Mathews said the Erskine teenager had invited her on the fateful trip but she had not been able to join the group.
She posted a screenshot of a text message she received on Tuesday morning where Ms Berente had celebrated her good news.
“Argh she even asked me to come into the car today with her,” Ms Mathews wrote on Facebook.
“I thank God that I didn’t but I now blame myself a little for not being there with her.
“She is still to this day and forever my greatest best friend and sister to me.”
A WA Police spokeswoman said the teenager had been given her P-plates on Tuesday morning before the accident, allowing her to drive a car without a supervising adult for the first time.
Both passengers who were in the vehicle with Ms Berente were taken to Royal Perth Hospital and treated for injuries sustained in the crash.
White Hill Road, which leads to a beach in Bouvard, was closed for several hours while Major Crash officers investigated.
‘Horrible and tragic set of circumstances’
WA Deputy Premier Roger Cook said the accident was a tragic reminder for everyone to take extra care on the roads at this time of the year, particularly inexperienced drivers.
“This is a horrible and tragic set of circumstances and events and it comes at a time where a young person in our community should be celebrating a terrific milestone,” he said.
“Can I just, on behalf of the McGowan Government, express our sincere condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of that young woman.
“As a parent of a couple of young drivers, I can assure you that this is a time of great concern and anxiety for all parents as we see our young people go out and navigate the roads and every other road user.”
When asked whether more formal training for unsealed and off-road driving should be included in the process of acquiring a driver’s licence, Mr Cook said he would leave that up to the experts.
“I think it’s simply important at this stage to express our sincere sympathy and condolences to the friends and family of this young woman and the speedy recovery of her friends who were also in the car,” he said.