Jackson Family Heartache

A son, brother and best friend killed in high speed crash

Tragedy shakes Bathurst community

Eighteen year old Daniel Jackson was like every other eighteen year old. Celebrating the end of his Year Twelve exams and excited with the prospect of his new-found freedom, he lived every moment of his life like it was his last. A notion that quickly morphed into deeper meaning on the late evening of the nineteenth of December, 2014.


That Friday night, Daniel traveled down the outskirts of his small country town to attend his best friend's eighteenth birthday bash. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by his many friends and lost himself in the festivities, indulging in a fair few drinks. Daniel did not stay too long for he had work the next day and decided to call it a night a little before midnight. His best friend, Timmy Reynolds offered to drive him home for unlike Daniel, Timmy was not under the influence of alcohol. Three friends tagged along, Caitlin Roberts (17), William Garner (19) and Rachel Lee (17) all of whom were alcohol-ridden. It was a twenty minute ride and the drunk teens grew restless, blasting the radio and yelling loudly. "I wanted to impress the others, you know," Timmy told us during an interview, "they were getting really bored and it was my birthday. I felt obligated, you know to give them a good time." Timmy Reynolds then made a decision that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He turned a simple drive home into a wild joyride. Timmy sped up to 150 km/h that night, swerving around each turn and barely missing the barriers on each side. It was on the corner of Old Earl Road when Timmy lost control of his vehicle and swerved, curling the left side of the old Ford around a tree. "I remember looking over at Daniel to check if he was okay," an emotional Timmy stated, "but all I saw was the metal of my car, it had just collapsed over the seat. I'd lost Daniel."

Timmy, William and Rachel managed to crawl out of the wreckage with minor injuries and dial the ambulance. "They arrived about six minutes after I got out," Rachel said in an interview, "it took them forever to remove the crushed metal that had trapped Daniel and Caitlin."

Once the car was dismantled, it was confirmed that Daniel Jackson had died on impact while Caitlin Roberts was in a critical condition.

"I couldn't believe it when they came to the door, the police," Helen Jackson, Daniel's mother insisted, "I kept pinching myself. It was impossible to think that only a few hours before, Daniel had laughed and joked with me. It was impossible to think that my baby was no longer with me."

After intense police investigation, it was confirmed that speeding was the cause of the accident and Timmy Reynolds was charged with involuntary manslaughter and grievous bodily harm. Caitlin Roberts is a paraplegic in result of the crash and all four friends suffer from PTSD. "It's stupid. It's really stupid. The whole speeding thing." Timmy said. "Daniel's life was worth more than my stupidity. Sometimes, I wish it were me."

The community grieved the loss of a young boy with a prosperous future although the sorrow did not end there. Helen and Fred Jackson (Daniel's parents) lead the Keep Our Youth Off the Roads program that was strongly backed by members of the Bathurst community. The Mayor shortly stated that the belief of the town was that the licensing process should be longer and the children should be drilled with the consequences of Road stupidity regularly at schools.

Although the Jacksons still grieve for their lost son, they believe in the effects of their program and wish to improve road fatalities one small country town at a time. "We're doing this for Daniel and Caitlin who have both suffered because of preventable accidents on the road," Jenny Jackson said (Daniel's sister), "while this will never bring our Danny back, we recognize that it could stop families from feeling the piercing hole in our hearts that we feel every day since Daniel's death."

The Keep Our Youth Off the Roads program has appeared in many schools across Australia's rural areas although has hopes of expanding further into the city.