Patricia Nell will be remembered as a gentle and caring community leader.
Patricia Nell will be remembered as a gentle and caring community leader.

Crash victim remembered as caring, gentle leader

A WOMAN who lost her life after a horror crash at Gootchie has been remembered as a gentle person and community leader.

Patricia Nell died in hospital on Monday morning, three days after the crash had already claimed the life of a co-worker.

Both Patricia, 56, and the female passenger in the car were employees at MAX Employment in Hervey Bay.

Police said the two women were travelling back from a work function in Gympie when the car they were travelling in collided with a truck.

It is understood that the two women were being followed by colleagues from Bundaberg, who witnessed the horror smash.

The truck driver was uninjured.

On Monday the MAX Employment offices in both Maryborough and Hervey Bay were closed as staff took time to grieve for their co-workers.

A statement was released by MAX Employment yesterday, reflecting on the sad loss of the two women.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of two dedicated and talented members of the MAX family," the statement read.

"Our deepest condolences go out to their friends and family.

"Our focus at the moment is on supporting the affected families and MAX staff during this difficult time."

The Forensic Crash Unit is continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.

Former Fraser Coast mayor Gerard O'Connell said Patricia would be remembered as someone who contributed a great deal to her community.

Formerly the Mission Australia Wide Bay area manager, Patricia had moved on to MAX Employment and Mr O'Connell was there when the Hervey Bay office was formally opened in September last year.

"She was a thoroughly wonderful lady and an extremely community-minded person," he said.

Mr O'Connell described Patricia as the "ultimate professional".

"She went out of her way to engage with people.

"She was a caring and gentle person."

Mr O'Connell said he particularly remembered Patricia helping people improve their skills as they worked towards finding employment.

"She engaged with them and encouraged them.

"She went about her work in a very calm way and was very empowering for people.

"She made a career out of helping people."

Mr O'Connell said there had been a lot of positive energy in the room on the day he met with Patricia and her colleagues for the opening of the MAX Employment service.

He said it was devastating to hear of her death.

"She will leave a huge hole.

"All we can do is rally around her family."