Too young, too soon
THE worst fears of the friends and co-workers of a 19-year-old apprentice hairdresser killed in a car crash on the Pacific Hwy were realised when the news of her death came through.
Hayley Bennett's boss at Skizza's Hair Design, Isabelle Pearson, said Hayley had finished work around 5pm on Friday after she'd just had her hair cut and was heading to her boyfriend's place at Mullaway.
"About 6pm our senior stylist (Kristy Pennell) rang in really stressed to say she was stuck in traffic on the highway because there'd been a fatality," Ms Pearson said.
"She had this feeling it might be Hayley, but we told her that her phone had gone flat and that's probably why she couldn't contact her."
Her friends kept this in mind as they tried to find out what had happened, but at 9pm, her boyfriend, Josh Inkles, stopped answering calls and they feared the worst.
"Eventually I called someone I know in emergency services and they told me it was bad news," Ms Pearson said.
She said the car accident had robbed the world of a delightful young person, who had the potential to become an outstanding hairdresser.
"She was one of those people who were going to make it," Ms Pearson said. "She was just so well organised and eager to please her clients and everyone who worked with her."
She said Hayley had only been working at the salon for three months after she moved to the area from Wollongong to be with her boyfriend.
In that time she had become invaluable.
"She was my little star," Ms Pearson said.
"Everything was going so well. It seemed too good to be true."
Ms Pearson closed the salon on Saturday and yesterday and had the sad task of removing some of Hayley's belongings.
"She'd just bought new scissors. Her father wants them so he could have them mounted on a display," she said.
"I don't think he really knows what happened yet. I don't know what the family is doing yet."
Ms Pearson said a tribute she had put up for Hayley on Skizza's Facebook page gave an indication of the popularity the young hairdresser had gained.
"By this morning there were 650 'likes' and more than 60 people had commented on it," she said.
Hayley died when her car was involved in a head-on collision at Halfway Creek about 5.15pm on Friday. Police said she died at the scene.