MISSED: Shane Old tragically lost his life in the crash.
MISSED: Shane Old tragically lost his life in the crash. Contributed

Woodgate acerage owner the forgotten victim of horror crash

SHANE Old would have forgiven the woman whose careless driving killed him.

He was that type of person, his sister Shelly Vaughan said.

Shane was not a spiteful or angry man.

He was a "gentle giant” who saw hatred as "a waste of energy”.

Despite Shane's death in a horrific car crash last September, Shelly yesterday welcomed the opportunity to come face-to-face with the woman who took her brother away from her, Oxenford State School teacher Leona Pauline Paraha.

After Paraha pleaded guilty in Childers Magistrates Court, Shelly walked over to her and hugged her. They cried together in a moment of shared grief.

"I don't know if I've forgiven, but I'm not angry with her because she didn't set out to do that,” Shelly told The Courier-Mail.

"She wasn't drunk, she didn't do drugs, she didn't wake up with the intent of killing two people, and there's no winners. No one's a winner out of this.

"It's just a horrific accident - she fell asleep. And she has to live with that.”

Shane was the forgotten victim of the tragedy last year, that also claimed the life of eight-year-old Gold Coast girl Olivia Douglas.

Shane, 52, had just welcomed his new granddaughter into the world the day before he set out on a road trip to his acreage at Woodgate.

After mowing the grass, he was headed home on the Bruce Highway near Childers about 1pm when Paraha drifted onto the wrong side of the road and into Shane's ute.

There was nothing he could do.

"The weirdest thing happened on that Friday. I was sitting with a work colleague about one o'clock ... My work colleague was looking at me going 'are you OK?' Something just wasn't sitting right. And then I find out that afternoon that my brother was killed,” Shelly said.

"I asked the firemen who attended the accident what time it was, they said it was approximately one o'clock.”

Tragically, Shane's partner Robyn was diagnosed with breast cancer just a month-and-a-half months later and today undergoes regular chemotherapy.

It is the memory of Shane's larger-than-life personality that fuels her fighting spirit.

"He was my man for 23 years. He was a gentle soul,” Robyn said.

Around the Glasshouse Mountains, where Shane and Robyn lived and worked for more than 20 years, everyone knew him as "the postie”.

A solid bloke, who was about six feet tall, he was unmistakeable on his daily postal route.

And when he wasn't working or spending time with his beloved family, he was enjoying a beer at the Glasshouse Bowls Club on a Friday afternoon, or donating his time at the local koala sanctuary.

"(The sanctuary) used to always to say to him 'we'll pay you'. And he'd say 'nah, it's all for the bears',” Shelly said.

At Shane's funeral, dozens of mourners donned his favourite colour, yellow.

And after he was laid to rest, his family members each kept a portion on his ashes.

But Shelly says the best way anyone can celebrate Shane's life is to simply live as he would have - with love, generosity and forgiveness.



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