Teenage driver who killed a 19-year-old aspiring actress and injured her two friends has been charged two days after his passenger was granted bail for pulling up the handbrake
- Libby Ruge, 19, died after being hit by a car in Wollongong on Saturday night
- Two of her friends, a woman, 18, and a 21-year-old man, injured in the crash
- Driver charged with several offences related to dangerous and negligent driving
- Arpan Sharma, the front seat passenger in the Toyota Camry, also charged
- Sharma, 21, allegedly pulled up the handbrake causing car to mount the kerb
A teenage driver who killed an aspiring actress and injured two of her friends on Saturday night has been charged with a number of serious driving offences two days after his passenger was charged.
The man, 18, who cannot be named, was taken to Wollongong police station, south of Sydney, on Monday after being under police guard in hospital following the tragic incident.
He has been charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, negligent driving (occasioning death), negligent driving (occasioning grievous bodily harm), cause bodily harm by misconduct, in charge of motor vehicle, and failure to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death.
Bail was refused and the man is expected to face Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
Libby Ruge, 19, was walking along Flinders Street near the Collegians Club in Wollongong about 10.30pm on Saturday when a driver of a Toyota Camry allegedly lost control and mounted the kerb.
Police said the car slammed into a pole before hitting the group.
Libby Ruge (pictured) was rushed to Wollongong Hospital with multiple head injuries but died a short time later
Libby Ruge (pictured, left and right) died when the 18-year-old driver of a Toyota Camry allegedly lost control and mounted the kerb
The car allegedly lost control and ploughed into the young actress and her friends. Pictured: A smashed car at the scene
The aspiring actress was rushed to Wollongong Hospital with multiple critical head injuries but died a short time later.
Two of her friends, aged 18 and 19, were also hit and suffered serious injuries. Miss Ruge’s boyfriend Luke Day, 20, was at the scene but escaped unharmed.
Arpan Sharma, 21, the front seat passenger, faced Wollongong Local Court on Monday accused of pulling up the handbrake before the crash.
He has also been charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and negligent driving causing death and grievous bodily harm.
Police Sergeant David Weaver told the court CCTV footage showed the car’s front wheel’s locking, causing the car to fishtail, and the defendant admitted to pulling the handbrake, the ABC reports.
He said the Crown’s case was strong and argued bail should be refused because Sharma posed a flight risk as a foreign national, citing a 2008 case where a person fled to India using a friend’s passport.
Magistrate Roger Prowse expressed doubt over the strength of the Crown’s charges as Sharma was not the driver, but agreed the defendant posed a flight risk.
He granted Sharma bail under strict conditions, which include reporting to Wollongong Police station daily and refraining from travelling in a car.
Sharma was also ordered to surrender his passport and is banned from going within a kilometre of an airport.
The court heard Sharma was in Australia as an international student undertaking a business diploma while working as a cleaner part time.
Miss Ruge has been remembered as an ‘angel’ by heartbroken friends and family.
Tributes have poured in over social media for the drama graduate, who celebrated her birthday in late October.
Libby Ruge (pictured) was killed after being hit by a car on Flinders Street near the Collegians Club in Wollongong, on Saturday night
Libby Ruge was taken to Wollongong Hospital but died a short time after (pictured: the scene of the crash
Pictured: Flinders Street near the Collegians Club, where the group-of-four were mowed down
‘Today I lost my best friend and soul mate. Words cannot describe the pain and sorrow in my heart. Libby you shouldn’t have been taken from us it’s just not fair,’ one woman wrote on Instagram.
‘You were my everything and more and I am so lucky to be able to call you my best friend. I love you so much my girl. You will be in my heart forever.’
‘My absolute angel,’ another wrote.
‘I have no words…my heart is shattered. You were taken far too soon. I will forever cherish our glam sessions, laughs and pure stupidity.’
The friend said the last hing they did together was ‘hug and laugh’.
‘I love you my beautiful girl. Until we meet again,’ she added.
Heartbroken friends and family have flooded social media with tributes to the young woman, who celebrated her birthday only days prior in October (pictured, Miss Ruge with her boyfriend Luke)
One woman shared the moment she met the ‘stunning’ young woman (pictured) at her Year 12 formal
Another shared the moment she met the ‘stunning’ young woman at her Year 12 formal.
‘Libby was stunning that afternoon and I’m glad I got to see her with her formal hair and makeup done next to her biggest fan (her mum).’
‘May her soul live on inside of you.’
Wollongong Police Chief Inspector Geoffrey Olsen described the incident as ‘tragic’.
‘It’s a tragic event and from what I understand they’d been out together socialising and they were simply walking home or to another venue. It’s terrible,’ he said.
‘[Miss Ruge’s] family were spoken to, they were at the scene last night … [They are] devastated of course.’
Wollongong Police Chief Inspector Geoffrey Olsen described the accident as ‘tragic’. Pictured: Libby Ruge
Heartbroken friends and family have flooded social media with tributes to the young woman, who celebrated her birthday only days prior in October
A witness described the scene of the crash as ‘scary’.
‘We walked down there to go to the club and there were just police and ambulances everywhere. It was pretty scary to see. Everyone was very upset,’ he said.
Miss Ruge graduated from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts in 2019 and was well-known in the local community.
In an online talent profile, the teenager described herself as ‘fun and bubbly’.
Anyone with dash cam footage or witnessed anything is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
‘Today I lost my best friend and soul mate. Words cannot describe the pain and sorrow in my heart, ‘ one friend wrote. Pictured: Miss Ruge and her boyfriend Luke