Tributes flow for Luke Smith and Zac Sweetman by classmates at Tenterfield High School.
Tributes flow for Luke Smith and Zac Sweetman by classmates at Tenterfield High School.

Highway deaths second tragedy for Sweetman family

THERE has been an outpouring of grief from the Tenterfield community as the town and district mourns the loss of two teenagers who were tragically killed in a car accident at Glen Aplin on Saturday night.

Zak Sweetman, 18, and Luke Smith, 16 were travelling with two other friends on the New England Hwy at Glen Aplin, when the ute they were in left the road and overturned.

Police and emergency services were on the scene around 11.30pm. The two young men died at the scene.

Police said the vehicle rolled at least once and ended up 20 metres off the highway.

The accident is a tragedy for the Sweetman family who have lost their second son in five years.

Brendan Sweetman died in an accident at Boonoo Boonoo National Park in 2011.

The driver, a 17-year-old man from Tenterfield, and a 19-year-old passenger were taken to Stanthorpe Hospital and treated for minor injuries and shock.

St Joseph's primary assistant principal David Fleming taught Zak in Grade 7.

"He was a great kid, a lovely little larrikin, who always had a cheeky smile," he said.

"I never saw him angry with anyone ever, he was a good kid..

"He was a character. He was good to teach. He loved life.

"I just feel so sorry for his parents. It's the second time for his parents."

Officer in charge, Stanthorpe police Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said police were still investigating the cause of the crash however it was not believed that speed, alcohol or drugs contributed.

"At this stage it is being investigated that the driver may have been momentarily distracted but enquires are continuing," he said.

"These things are highly emotional for all emergency services, personnel, witnesses, family and friends and the officers here. Our condolences go out to the family of the deceased.

"Every person lost on the road in a traffic cash is one too many."

Tenterfield High School principal Peter Willis did not wish to comment.

A NSW Department of Education spokesperson said: "Tenterfield High School is deeply saddened by deaths of a current and ex-student. The school extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the young men. Support is being provided for students and staff."

Tributes have flowed in on social media.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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