Remembering Luke Woof: 9 years since terrible accident
LUKE Woof could have had a successful sporting career, got married and had children.
He could have travelled the world, studied at university or excelled in a trade.
The 17-year-old had the world at his feet.
But none of that would happen after the morning of January 31, 2010. The teen was driving home to Benaraby after catching up with friends for breakfast.
Rain was pouring and the road was getting slippery as Luke travelled along Gladstone Benaraby Rd.
One of his tyres hit the edge of the bitumen on the road near Toolooa Bends.
Luke steered back onto the road but over-corrected the wheel.
He drove directly into the path of an oncoming four-wheel-drive.
By the time emergency services arrived, Luke was dead.
For almost nine years a white cross has marked the spot the teenager lost his life; a constant reminder for family, friends and passing motorists how dangerous the road can be.
The devastation caused by incidents such as these, is the reason the Queensland Police Service has launched its Christmas Road Safety Campaign and the Woof family is getting behind it.
Luke's mum Sheryn and younger sister Sharni recalled the moment they were told the news.
She said her late husband Ian called to tell her Luke had been in a fatal car accident.
"I was picking Sharni up from in town and we were heading back to Benaraby," Sheryn said.
"Somehow, we were the first car to be stopped by police because the road was blocked from the crash.
"When we stopped, we knew it was Luke. We sat there for an hour in the car because we weren't allowed to get out ... We knew it was him."
Sheryn and Sharni could do nothing but watch as Luke's body was removed from the wreck and taken away by the coroner.
"That pain will never go away," Sharni said.
Travelling behind Luke that morning were friends of Sheryn's and Ian's.
They were first on scene of the crash and tried to resuscitate him.
"When we got home that day we were just in disbelief, a state of shock," Sheryn said.
"It only really sunk in when we had to go in and identify his body.
"You never think you will ever have to do that."
Luke was a prominent member of the local and Queensland cricket, soccer and hockey communities.
He was the winner of the 2009 Annual Yaralla Sports Star of the Year, an award which has since been named in his honour.
"Where do I even start with Luke," Sheryn laughed.
"He was everything; mischievous, full of life, popular with his friends, very protective of his sister and a completely selfless person.
"He was one of those people you could teach him something once and he would just be able to do it.
"He would have really done something with his life.
"Once Luke was missing from our family, the laughter, the noise ... it all disappeared."
Sharni said Luke was her best friend. "We did everything together," she said.
Luke and his older brother Robbie were "thick as thieves".
The pair regularly took fishing trips with their dad when they weren't rivalling over who was the better sportsman.
"The impact an incident like this can have, not just on a family, but on everyone, is massive," Sheryn said,
"It affects you every single day.
"There's not a day we don't remember him and think about what he would be doing now if he was still here."
Sheryn said police road safety campaigns were necessary to keep motorists alive.
"I can only imagine what the roads would be like without them," Sheryn said.
"I also believe defensive driving courses should be mandatory for those getting a licence so that people in the situation that Luke was in, have the skills to get out of it.
"Kids get their licence and think they are superman ... it's just not that easy.
"And you have to learn how to react to other drivers too."
This year, 230 motorists were killed on Queensland roads.
The Christmas road safety campaign started on Friday with police out in force across the state conducting traffic operations.
Police will be targeting the Fatal Five - speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction, fatigue and seat belts.