The racing community is in shock after the death of a talented apprentice jockey in a crash in Serpentine.
Kate Ann Stons, 17, had been driving her green Nissan Pulsar north on Rapids Road near Gull Road about 7.30pm last night when she crossed onto the wrong side of the road before returning to the left lane and colliding with a tree.
Kate was on her way to visit a friend and his father in Byford for dinner when the accident happened.
She had only been on the road about eight minutes after leaving the Serpentine stables were she was living as she completed her apprenticeship.
Kate’s father Bryan said his family were devastated their only child did not get to reach her 18th birthday.
“She was a happy go lucky person who has tragically been taken too soon,” Mr Stons said.
“We’ve been left asking, ‘Why would they take her?’” he said.
Kate started riding at about five-years-old and had competed in show jumping and cross country competitions before deciding to take up a jockey apprenticeship.
Fellow apprentice jockey Aaron Rogers, 18, had known Kate for three years and said he, like all of Kate’s friends, had been struggling with the news.
He said he spoke to Kate on her mobile about 10 minutes before the crash and was “shocked and shattered” at her loss.
"She was a cheerful girl, she was always happy and was always part of the action," he said.
Kate started her jockey apprenticeship in April and according to her master, trainer David Harrison, she had shown real promise.
“She was coming along in leaps and bounds and improving all the time and was almost ready to go to the track,” Mr Harrison said.
Mr Rogers said Kate would be sorely missed by apprentice jockey community.
A Facebook tribute page has received over 1100 likes as friends of the teenager expressed their grief on the social media site.
Mr Stons said it had been difficult to watch tributes flood in on Kate’s Facebook page but the sheer number showed how well regarded and loved his daughter was.
Major crash investigators are asking for anyone with information on the crash to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.