Corey Gavin should have been celebrating on Friday as he enjoyed his 23rd birthday.
Instead the young man who lived life to the full will be farewelled by family and friends during a moving and emotional funeral service following his death early on Saturday morning.
Corey was killed when his ute collided with a petrol tanker at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Jaspers Brush Road, between Bomaderry and Berry, at 1.15am on Saturday.
Corey died at the scene, while the truck driver, 59-year-old Bradbury man Kevin Schey, was rushed to St Georges Hospital where he died.
Police said the accident occurred when the ute veered onto the wrong side of the road, and while the truck driver swerved to the left to avoid the accident, they collided in the northbound lane.
The impact ruptured one of the petrol tanks, causing ethanol to leak onto the road.
The highway was closed for 18 hours, although it was partially open at times, as Hazmat crews cleaned up the scene.
A labourer with Illawarra civil works and demolition company JBG Contractors, Corey was returning from a work function at Albion Park when the accident occurred.
His sister Skye Gavin, 22, described her brother as “the life of the party” and a fun guy who liked to “have a good time”.
“Corey knew how to brighten everyone’s day,” she said.
Having grown up in Parkes before moving to Ulladulla four years ago, Corey enjoyed “everything country”.
“He liked bull riding, B and S balls, motorbikes and a good party – he was a real country boy,” Skye said.
She said Corey was not only her brother, but also her best friend and good mates with her boyfriend Brendan Holgate, with whom he worked.
Skye said Brendan’s mother Judith Holgate took the siblings under her wing and became like their second mother when they moved to the area.
Corey’s mother Debby Watson and many family members still live in Parkes and he spent a lot of time living between there, Sydney and Ulladulla over the past decade, attending school at Peak Hill and Richmond.
Corey had only recently moved into a house with his girlfriend Abby Parker at Kings Point.
His mother Debby, sisters Skye and Kristy, along with his many friends will farewell their fun-loving mate at the Ulladulla Ex-Servos on Friday at 11am.