Memorial marks year since fatal crash claimed Jesse Uncles's life

By Kaysha Brownlie -
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Mary Stevens stands with Jesse Uncles' brothers, from left, Deon Uncles and Jay Uncles at the unveiling of his cross on the first anniversary of his death. Photo / Paul Taylor
Mary Stevens stands with Jesse Uncles' brothers, from left, Deon Uncles and Jay Uncles at the unveiling of his cross on the first anniversary of his death. Photo / Paul Taylor

It is a sombre walk down the road to where Jesse Uncles was killed instantly in a crash one year ago today.

Mr Uncles, 21, died in the back seat of Tyler Walker's unregistered and unwarranted 1997 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4.

A quote from Fast & Furious 7 actor Paul Walker remained eerily intact on the side of the otherwise mangled wreck.

"If one day speed kills me, don't cry because I was smiling," it read, the sticker was a nod to the actor who was killed in a high-speed crash himself in 2013 - halfway through filming scenes for the blockbuster.

Tyla Walker, who was four times over the drink-drive alcohol limit, drove dangerously and spun out on a moderate bend on Farndon Rd.

A totara cross, painted purple, Mr Uncles' favourite colour, was unveiled yesterday to forever mark the spot.

Police shut off half of the road and monitored traffic, while friends and family braved the biting wind for the occasion.

Sitting in front of the homemade shrine in their lounge, Dennis and Helen Uncles revealed the grief they felt after their son's killer pleaded guilty to several charges in February.

His father said his son had made a fatal split-second decision to jump in the back of Walker's car to retrieve a forgotten bottle of vodka which had been left at a carwash.

Walker had received a knock to the head, fellow passenger, Stephen Palmer, received spinal injuries and the other passenger Kayden French was seriously injured.

Yesterday was the first time Mr French had returned to the crash site.

The events of that Saturday night will forever replay in the injuries he still visibly has.

The cross with Mr Uncles' name and photo is a memorial to his friends and family but a constant reminder to motorists who accelerate down the narrow road fraught with ditches and trees.

Mrs Uncles had only managed to bring herself to drive down Farndon Rd a few times since her son's death.

"I think we will go back and visit it regularly now. It's not about us, this is about Jesse."

One year on, the nightmare that claimed their son's life continues as the man convicted of his death appealed the case last week .

But the family are determined to remain strong.

He was the youngest of four brothers and Mrs Uncles said her boys had been affected differently, "[one] said, 'mum it doesn't feel like it was a year ago, it feels like it was yesterday'."

Marking the anniversary, his brothers dug out the tee shirts they wore for his funeral with their brother's name on. "We just want to thank everyone who came out here today," his mother said.

- In April Tyler Walker, 22, was jailed for three years and nine months and disqualified from driving for seven years. He earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of drink-driving causing death, two charges of drink-driving causing injury and one of dangerous driving. He appealed last week, saying his sentence was excessive.

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