TIFFANY Jennings was a young girl with a big heart and big dreams.
Tiffany lost her life in a car crash near her family’s property in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The horse-mad teenager leaves behind her mother Tania Jennings, five older siblings and her two horses Giggles and Nash.
“She was a great girl, she never had any problems and she never got involved in the wrong crowd,” Ms Jennings said. “It’s the first time she had done anything like this and she paid the ultimate price.”
Tiffany had just resumed Year 10 at Ballarat High School and was a much-loved member of the school community.
“Tiffany just didn’t take the easy way out, she stood up for what she believed in,” Ms Jennings said.
Tiffany also had a large presence in the horse-riding community.
“She was a really good rider. She had dreams of competing in the equestrian event at the Olympics,” Ms Jennings said.
“I told her to become a lawyer because she likes arguing. She always had an opinion.”
Ms Jennings said her eldest daughter Susan Jeffreys, who is pregnant with twins, was planning to name one of her babies after Tiffany.
“Tiffany’s middle name is Lee, Susan already had a name picked out, but said she would name it after Tiffany,” she said. “She cared about other people and she was the nicest girl.”
At 1.40am yesterday morning Tiffany took a family car with a friend and it rolled multiple times off Dowling Road.
She was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, while her friend, also aged 15, was able to raise the alarm at a nearby house.
Some nearby neighbours also heard the crash and came out to see what had happened.
Ballarat Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said the tragedy sent a clear message to parents to always know where their children were.
“Look after your loved ones and make sure you know where your children are and what they’re doing,” he said.
“It is a very sad day for Ballarat High School. Students are undergoing counselling through the Education Department and the principal has been informed.”
Inspector Thomas said early investigations did not show any signs of alcohol being involved. The incident, he said, would need to be further analysed as a report for the coroner was prepared.
“Look after your loved ones and make sure you know where your children are and what they’re doing.”
He would not comment on whether seatbelts were being worn or if excessive speed was a factor along the 100km/h road.
Ballarat Highway Patrol and crime scene investigators were investigating the straight stretch of dirt road yesterday, with the police airwing also taking aerial photographs of the crash.
A stretch of the road, near the intersection of Blind Creek Road, was blocked for about 12 hours.
“If possible, we want to recreate exactly what happened, which will give us a much better idea on how the accident occurred,” Inspector Thomas said.
“We’re still ascertaining exactly what happened, we’re putting out a call for witnesses that observed a (Toyota) Prado around the area.”
The 15-year-old passenger was taken to Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital in a stable condition, suffering cuts and abrasions and arm injuries. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au