South Australia’s grieving Police Commissioner has shared an emotional letter he wrote to his son just days after he died after allegedly being hit by a car on schoolies.
Charlie Stevens, 18, died surrounded by family and friends on Saturday night after he was allegedly hit by a car.
Just a day earlier he had been celebrating finishing high school at Goolwa, 90km southeast of Adelaide.
His father Commissioner Grant Stevens penned the letter to his youngest son along with his wife Emma, introducing South Australians to the 101st life lost on the state’s roads this year.
“I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six drinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it’s perfect. This is where 101 lived,” the parents wrote.
“101 is Charles Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve. You lived life and gave so much to so many. You were a force of nature and we will never forget your beautiful cheeky, disarming smile,’ Commissioner Stevens continued.
“Son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, friends, workmate, teammate. So much more than just a number on a tragic tally.”
The heartbroken parents described the “last of five” as different.
“Cheeky, intense and funny – a loveable ratbag from the moment he could talk. He was as frustrating as hell, but he was also the kid who would look after others, befriend the lonely, and help those who were struggling,” they wrote.
“Intensity shone through as 101 committed to each new passion — Lego, BBL, scooters, footy, cricket, basketball, surfing, downhilling, Fortnight and his skateboard — it was all or nothing and it was always all.”
It comes as the teenager accused of being behind the wheel during the alleged hit-and-run was granted bail.
Three witnesses stated in court on Monday that Dhirren Randhawa, 18, performed a U-turn in his car and hit the late Mr Stevens as he and his friends were waiting for a Schoolies shuttle bus to take them to Victor Harbour from Goolwa Beach.
The witnesses, who said they were waiting with Charlie, say they flagged down Mr Randhawa, who was driving a blue VW Golf, to see if they could hitch a ride.
But there was not enough room in the car and the witnesses say Mr Randhawa drove away before making a U-turn.
He then allegedly sped up and started travelling on the wrong side of the road before hitting Charlie, court documents reveal.
There is no suggestion of animosity between the groups.
A witness from inside the car said that a group of young men were on the western side of the road, partially on the footpath, and that there was a single male on the other side.
She told the court that the male on the eastern side ran across the road into Mr Randhawa’s car.
The witness states Mr Randhawa then drove a short distance before calling his mother and asking whether he should turn himself in at a police station or call the police.
As he was talking to her, the police arrived and arrested him, the witness said.
More to come.