Teen killed in ute rollover

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Sion­nie Kelly

A town is in mourn­ing after a tragic col­li­sion on Sun­day morn­ing claimed the life of a teenager.

Euroa’s Ry­ley Bjork­sten, 19, was killed after a util­ity he was trav­el­ling in rolled at Bal­mat­tum.

Emer­gency ser­vices were called to Faith­fuls Creek Rd fol­low­ing re­ports a man had been struck by a ute about 2.15 am.

Although at­tempts were made to re­vive Mr Bjork­sten, he died shortly after the ac­ci­dent.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice Ma­jor Col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived at the scene of the in­ci­dent and be­lieve a num­ber of peo­ple were rid­ing in the tray of the ute when it rolled on the un­made road.

Mr Bjork­sten was known as a tal­ented Goul­burn Val­ley League foot­baller for Euroa.

Across his foot­ball ca­reer in Euroa, Mr Bjork­sten played 35 se­nior games and only missed play­ing one game this year.

Yes­ter­day, Euroa Foot­ball Net­ball Club mem­bers gath­ered at Me­mo­rial Oval to pay their re­spects to Mr Bjork­sten and his fam­ily.

Mr Bjork­sten’s mother, Lau­ren Bjork­sten, said her son was a well-liked young man with many friends in the com­mu­nity.

Mr Bjork­sten com­pleted VCE last year and was work­ing as an ap­pren­tice elec­tri­cian.

‘‘Ry­ley was very pop­u­lar and had a wide cir­cle of mates,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated.’’

Mrs Bjork­sten said her son had gone out for din­ner with some friends on Satur­day night and then headed to a bon­fire.

While grow­ing up in Euroa, Mr Bjork­sten was in­volved in a num­ber of sports in­clud­ing cricket, bas­ket­ball and mixed net­ball.

Euroa Foot­ball Net­ball Club pres­i­dent Scott Wat­son said Mr Bjork­sten had been an in­te­gral mem­ber of the se­nior foot­ball side for the past three years, after grad­u­at­ing through the ju­nior ranks.

‘‘Ry­ley’s speed, cou­pled with sub­lime foot skills, meant he was not only in the up­per ech­e­lon of play­ers in the club, but in the en­tire Goul­burn Val­ley League,’’ he said.

Mr Wat­son said the club’s thoughts and con­do­lences were with Mr Bjork­sten’s im­me­di­ate and ex­tended fam­ily.

Mr Bjork­sten is sur­vived by his mother Lau­ren, fa­ther Justin and younger brother Jye, 15.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice De­tec­tive Sergeant Roz Wil­son said at this stage they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the in­ci­dent, which may in­volve al­co­hol or ex­ces­sive speed.

Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria spokesman John Mullen said four other males were taken to hos­pi­tal in sta­ble con­di­tions.

Three men in their teens were taken to Goul­burn Val­ley Health with cuts and abra­sions.

One of the males had arm and spinal in­juries and an­other had shoul­der and chest in­juries.

A fourth man, in his 30s, was taken to hos­pi­tal in Wan­garatta with a leg in­jury.

Mrs Bjork­sten said the en­tire sit­u­a­tion was tragic and they still did not know the full ex­tent of the sit­u­a­tion that led to her son’s death.

Mr Bjork­sten’s death brings the num­ber of lives lost on Vic­to­ria’s road this year up to 200, 40 less than this time last year.

Pic­ture: Ray Sizer

In­ves­ti­gat­ing: Po­lice ex­am­ine the scene of the ute rollover.

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