He was killed five minutes from home
IT'S been 619 days since Diane Essery's son was killed in a motorbike crash but the emptiness of losing a loved one to two of the fatal five will never leave her.
Diane's son Matt, who only had his learner licence for four months, blew her a kiss goodbye as he rode his bike out of the driveway for the last time before he was killed in a crash on April 9, 2016.
The heartbroken mum still has vivid memories of the morning she got a knock on the door from two police officers.
"Police explained he had been drinking and speeding," she said.
"They told me if he had of done the recommended speed on the country road he wasn't familiar with he would have survived."
As travellers get set to hit the roads for the Christmas break, Ms Essery is urging others to learn from the tragedy.
"If you get in a car and you're going to turn the key, please think about other drivers on the road and their families," she said. "We were just lucky no-one else was hurt in Matt's crash.
"I don't think there should be an alcohol limit, it should be zero for everyone."
Ms Essery decided to share her story with the Chronicle after getting in touch with another family who lost their son in a crash involving speeding in September this year.
"I wanted to let her know she wasn't on her own," she said.
"One minute your baby is there, the next minute it's all gone and not a day goes by when you don't think of them."
Ms Essery said she wasn't worried at first when her son, who had been riding motorcycles since his early teen years, didn't return home, because it wasn't unusual for him not to come home.
"He died literally five minutes away from home," she said.
"I was worried when I saw rescue vehicles coming past my house and said to mum this is bad.
"I had read on Facebook there had been a fatality and while I had a sick feeling in my stomach I didn't think it was him."
That same morning, she happened to be taking photographs of a beautiful sunrise which she later found out was the area where her son was lying dead under a tree he crashed into.
"He failed to take a bend and ran straight into a tree," she said.
"The emptiness that's left behind is unimaginable."
Ms Essery wants to share her story at high schools next year in hope that it helps other young drivers to be safe on the roads and to avoid this happening to other families.