Driver's 'stupid decisions' ruined five families

Antonio Desisto should have turned 18 this week.

Instead, his father has tearfully told a court how he was left lost without his son, who was killed in a high-speed crash southwest of Sydney alongside four other teenagers.

“Singing happy birthday to my boy, who is now in an urn, is absolutely traumatic,” Exaven White said on Tuesday, the day before his son would have become an adult.

Antonio was the eldest of the five Picton High School students killed when a speeding Nissan Navara driven by Tyrell Edwards crashed at Buxton in September 2022.

John Van De Putte, the father of Lily Van De Putte
John Van de Putte said the crash was a horrific incident, not an accident.

“They all died at the hands of a reckless driver not caring for the safety of his friends,” Antonio’s grandmother said.

The families of 16-year-old Antonio, 15-year-olds Gabby McLennan and Tyrese Bechard, and 14-year-olds Lily Van de Putte and Summer Williams laid bare the devastating impacts of their loss in court as Edwards awaits sentencing.

The 19-year-old, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death in August.

Lily’s mother Melanie Van de Putte described the insurmountable and indescribable pain of losing her only child.

“What one imagines, I tell them to times that feeling by a million and it doesn’t even come close,” she told the NSW District Court at Campbelltown.

Lily’s sister Britany said Edwards, an adult who sat the same test to get his licence that she did, made “stupid decisions”.

“I just don’t understand why you would do something so dangerous that not only took five innocent kids’ lives but ruined five families,” she said.

Summer's mother Lisa Williams kissed a crucifix as she sat down in the witness box, telling the court the senseless death of her daughter after just 5251 days was no accident and left an immeasurable void in her heart.

Antonio and Tyrese were picked up by Edwards from a service station at Bargo shortly before 6pm on September 6, 2022.

Samantha Trimarchi (wearing white top) carries photo of her daughter
Samantha Trimarchi (in white top) said she'd "never had so much anger and hatred for one person”.

The P-plater reached up to 147km/h and filmed himself swerving from side to side while driving the pair, according to court documents.

He then travelled to Tahmoor to collect Gabby and Lily about 7.15pm before picking up Summer and going to get more fuel.

Gabby’s mother Samantha Trimarchi said Edwards would never be able to fathom the impact of his actions, despite family members' efforts to put their emotions into words.

“I have never had so much anger and hatred for one person,” she said.

“I really hope you listen to these words and realise what you’ve done.”

Edwards sped to overtake another vehicle on the wrong side of the road and was travelling at about 118km/h when he crashed on East Parade at Buxton about 7.50pm. 

The dual-cab ute hit a tree, rebounded and slammed into another, tearing open the rear cabin and ejecting four of the teenagers.

Neighbours heard a "massive explosion" and saw Edwards climb from the wreckage.

"I’m gonna go to jail," he was heard saying.

"I can’t go to jail. I don’t want to go to jail."

Tyrell Edwards court case
Exaven Desisto (left) and supporters wear shirts bearing the name of victim crash Antonio Desisto.

Edwards’ barrister Greg James told the court his client was sorry and accepted he needed to take responsibility.

"I can’t understand how unfair it is that I survived,” Mr James quoted from a statement.

He said Edwards was already punishing himself.

Whenever he gets out of jail he will be exiled,” Mr James said.

Edwards has been under “more or less continuous suicide watch” and when bailed to receive psychological treatment remained “cloistered at home”.

“Because of his deep feelings of guilt, shame and the desire for self-punishment,” Mr James said.

He accepted general community deterrence would factor in the sentence but said there was “little additional room” for further specific deterrence targeting Edwards.

“It appears he is deterred for the rest of his life,” Mr James said.

Judge Christopher O'Brien has scheduled a sentence on December 1.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store