Crash victim’s family share heartbreaking birthday message
FOR her 18th birthday earlier this month, Chloe McArthur's family and friends gathered at one of her favourite restaurants in Maryborough.
The group passed around a bear, writing messages for the birthday girl.
They shared good food and memories of times they had enjoyed with the Maryborough State High School student.
The only thing missing was Chloe herself.
She was killed in a car crash at Torbanlea, along with her 21-year-old boyfriend Connor Andersen, on June 12.
Speaking to the Chronicle at the start of Queensland Road Safety Week, Janet McArthur, Chloe's grandmother, shared her memories of her granddaughter, who she said had a smile for everyone.
"She was one of those rare good grandchildren," Janet said.
"She went to school, came home and went to work."
When Janet was left unable to lift heavy things after a cancer battle, it was Chloe who would lend her a hand whenever she needed one.
The night she died, Chloe was learning how to drive.
With Connor beside her, she drove to Torbanlea in the early hours of the morning after he finished a shift at work.
It was something the couple did regularly to increase her night driving experience.
Connor was set to drive them both home when he turned in front of truck on the Bruce Highway.
Both died at the scene.
Janet said it only took a moment of distraction for tragedy to strike on the road.
"Many things can go wrong when you're driving," she said.
It is drivers who do the wrong thing deliberately that have always troubled her.
From speeding to hooning and tailgating, Janet said people needed to think about their actions while driving.
She herself had been in a crash where a driver was rushing and failed to pay attention when overtaking.
Her car was wiped out thanks to what she calls sheer stupidity.
Janet thinks about Chloe every day.
Her granddaughter had a way with young children.
When a child was misbehaving at a party, Janet said the parent's face would light up when Chloe walked in.
"She was fantastic with little kids," she said.
Chloe dreamt of a career as a beautician or a teacher.
She had a bright future ahead of her.
"She had her head screwed on right,' Janet said.
It doesn't get any easier.
Each day Chloe's family wakes to the knowledge she won't be coming home.
But a pendant containing her ashes hangs around the necks of her grandmother, her mum Becky and her sister Scarlett.
While Chloe is gone, she's always close to their hearts.