“Bye Mum, I’ll be fine” are the heartbreaking last words Olivia Stevens said to her loving mother before she was tragically killed in a buggy accident last week.
The “cheeky, sassy” six-year-old waved goodbye as she left for a play date at her best friend’s house on Saturday afternoon.
She would soon be airlifted to hospital where she died after being crushed by an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
Olivia was one of seven children under the age of 10 who were passengers in the four-seater ATV when it flipped in a Rosedale paddock in Victoria’s Gippsland region.
Grieving mother speaks out
“Our lives will never be the same,” her mother Yana Stevens told the Herald Sun.
“How was it out of the seven kids on the buggy, Olivia was the only one who copped it all. I almost feel like she was sent there to save them all. If it wasn’t for her, there would have probably been more injured, or more that died.
“It just doesn’t make sense. In the split of a second, a life can be gone. It is unbelievable. I just don’t understand why this was thrown at us.”
Ms Stevens told the publication it’s too hard to face the family involved in the death of her daughter as she struggles to comprehend the “nightmare” ordeal.
That final goodbye when she dropped her daughter off at Damien and Abbey Gibson’s property will forever be etched in her memory.
The families had grown close when Olivia and the Gibson’s third eldest daughter Emily met at kindergarten.
The two girls formed an instant connection and immediately became best friends.
“We have been really good friends, Olivia has had many play dates there before and nothing has ever happened,” she told the Herald Sun.
On that fateful day, children from three families were making the most of the sunny spring weather in the Gibson’s swimming pool after emerging from lockdown.
Mr Gibson had been driving around on his new farming toy, a Polaris off-road buggy, when a group of kids jumped on for a joy ride and it rolled a short while later.
The youngest of the children on board was just two.
Ms Stevens is struggling to understand how the family could have let that happen.
“When I left the house I never thought anything like this could happen as Abbey was always quite cautious. I didn’t know they were going to take the kids on a ride.
“The whole thing is just devastating because we were forming such a wonderful friendship.
“I love the family, it is not like I hate them, but it is hard to face them right now. I don’t know if I will ever be able to. I know they are distraught, too, but sorry doesn’t cut it.”
Due to legal proceedings the two families have been unable to contact one another.
Family involved issues heartfelt apology
Abbey Gibson told the Herald Sun she wants the Stevens’ to know they are heartbroken and did everything they could to save little Olivia.
“We are just so sorry, it was a terrible accident,” Ms Gibson said.
“Our daughters were best friends, we loved Olivia. We have always loved that family.”
Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives have charged Mr Gibson with culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death, reckless conduct endangering life and recklessly cause injury.
Ms Stevens told the publication she wants Olivia to be remembered as a cheeky, sassy girl who had a bright future.
“She was so full of life, she was so much fun,” she said.
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