Revelry ends in tragedy

A CAR crash in Tweed Valley Way has claimed the life of Murwillumbah woman Lisa May Birrell, just days before she turned 21.

Ms Birrell died after her Ford Laser sedan ran off the road and crashed head-on into a tree, just after 5am on Saturday.

It is understood Ms Birrell had been out celebrating her 21st birthday, which would have been tomorrow, on the evening she died, but was alone in the car when it left the roadway while heading south, about 800m north of Reserve Creek Road.

Ms Birrell was trapped in the car for more than half an hour while rescue workers attempted to free her from the wreckage.

She was then taken to The Tweed Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7.10am.

Ms Birrell was a part-time bottleshop assistant who lived alone in Murwillumbah.

Emotional friends paid tribute to the former Murwillumbah High School student yesterday as they wept for her at the crash site.

Gemma Kelty and Lille Gill said all of Ms Birrell's friends had been devastated to hear of her death.

“If there was ever anyone going places in life, it was Lisa,” Ms Gill said.

“Everyone was jealous of her; she had her life together and she was so beautiful.”

Ms Kelty described Ms Birrell as the 'life of the party'.

Ms Gill and Ms Kelty could not say whether Ms Birrell had been heading home or planned to continue her birthday celebrations at a friend's place when her car ran off the road two kilometres from her home.

Inspector Jim Kain, of Tweed/Byron police, could not confirm whether speed or alcohol had contributed to the crash, which he said was still being investigated.

Insp Kain said it appeared Ms Birrell lost control of the car, which swerved on to the wrong side of the road and travelled over a drainage culvert before hitting a tree. A report is being prepared for the coroner.

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