Sydney model killed in car accident
Police believe Sarah Durazza was on the phone to her boyfriend when her car left the road and warn other road users of the dangers of using a phone whilst in a vehicle.PT0M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2snte 620 349 August 27, 2013
The boyfriend of a Sydney beautician and part-time model listened in horror over the phone as his lover crashed her car into a tree on Monday night, killing the young woman.
Sarah Durazza was just a few kilometres from home when she crashed her white Holden Barina into the tree, on the notoriously dangerous Wakehurst Parkway on the northern beaches about 7.20pm.
The death of the 26-year-old beautician, who was once at the centre of an NRL sponsor punching scandal, was one of seven fatalities on NSW roads in a 24-hour period.
Sarah Durazza died in a crash on Sydney's northern beaches. Photo: Twitter: @SarahDurazza
Police on Tuesday revealed the young woman had been speaking at the time of the crash to her boyfriend, who was one of the first on the scene.
Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, said police were examining Ms Durazza's phone to try and determine what role the call might have played in the crash.
"We believe she was talking to her boyfriend at the time," Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
"He told police officers at the scene that he heard the crash over the phone and attended the scene [immediately]."
Mr Hartley said police were saddened and frustrated at the loss of seven lives, that in many instances could be avoided.
"It's about everybody respecting the road rules," he told reporters.
Friends and family have expressed their grief and paid tribute to Ms Durazza on Facebook.
Brother Rob Durazza thanked friends for their support and posted a childhood picture of his sister on Facebook with a simple caption: "Love you forever."
Others took to social media to pay tribute.
"Rest in peace to my beautiful cousin Sarah Durazza u will be missed by many xoxo," posted Mathew Durazza.
Rebecca Molinaro posted: "Been up since 2am thinking of my friend Sarah Durazza may you rest in peace, such a beautiful girl xxx my heart is aching for your family during this tragic time."
Another friend, Mathew Chilingirian, said she was dearly loved and would be missed by many.
"You always spoke your mind and never sugar coated anything and that's what everyone loved about you most. I will remember so many adventures and memories with you till I'm old and gray! Love always! XOXO"
Another family member, Daniel Durazza, wrote that all who knew her were in shock.
"Just can't believe that she is gone too soon we will all miss her so much my thoughts are with you all," he posted.
Mary Di Palma wrote: "Devastated at the tragic loss of a beautiful soul, in our hearts and minds forever Sarah, our love and thoughts are with all of our family at home. Wish we were there with you, but know in our hearts we are right beside you, although so far away."
The young woman was at the centre of a stoush involving her father and Manly second-rower Anthony Watmough at Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles' alcohol-fuelled pre-season sponsors' launch in 2009.
Landscape gardener Paul Durazza, also a club sponsor, claimed Watmough "punched" him after insulting his daughter.
Watmough vehemently denied the sponsor's claims, and police never laid any charges.
Ms Durazza spoke on a program ABC's Four Corners following the NRL scandal, which erupted at the Sea Eagles' pre-season launch at the Manly Wharf Hotel.
She told the program at the time that Watmough had become increasingly drunk the day of the fateful launch in March 2009.
"The language that [Watmough ] was used was like you know eff this, eff that. He kept going up to my father going you should be disgusted in your daughter and you know just putting me completely down saying that I'm a piece of shit. He did say to my dad how can you let your daughter walk out of the house in a dress like that? And yes the dress was above the knee but I don't have to justify myself to anybody," she told journalist Sarah Ferguson at the time.
Ms Durazza was a familiar face in Sydney's social scene and was a finalist in Miss Snow Bunny 2006, Miss NSW 2008 and the winner of Miss Freshwater 2006.
Meanwhile, a man and a woman, both aged 33, were killed instantly on Monday morning when their scooter collided with a truck on the City West Link, in Haberfield.
On the NSW north coast, a car hit a tree off the Old Pacific Highway near Lake Innes about 3.20pm, killing a man and woman.
Only an hour later, less than 100 kilometres away, another car collided with a tree in Arakoon, killing a 54-year-old driver.
Further up the coast, near the Queensland border, an 84-year-old pedestrian was hit by a Toyota Tarago as he crossed the road at Banora Point, in Tweed Heads.
He later died in hospital.
A man and a woman also suffered serious injuries in a crash in northwest NSW.
A three-car pile-up occurred after two cars initially collided on the Mitchell Highway 15 kilometres east of Dubbo on Monday afternoon. All three drivers suffered injuries, including a a 52-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man.
Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said the cause of each crash was under investigation.
"If you are the driver you can save yourself and possibly those you love by remembering to get the basic things right – driving within the speed limit, not drinking and driving and knowing your limitations," he said in a statement on Monday night.
None of the three people who died on the NSW north coast roads have been formally identified.
with Sarah Whyte and AAP