Tyler Dean had the world at his feet in late 2017.
The 18-year-old had just signed the contract to begin his dream job as an apprentice panel beater in Geelong, Victoria. He had been working in Geelong and travelling home to Winchelsea each day via train.
On October 18, he planned to make the long trip home, but his mother Jeynelle Dean-Hayes asked if he could stay in Geelong. She wanted him to help her and her husband Josh set up some scenes for a short film Josh was working on. Tyler said he was tired and would prefer to go home instead.
When Jeynelle and Josh arrived home late that night, Tyler wasn't there.
Shortly after they arrived, there was a knock on the door. It was the kind every parent dreads—standing there were two police officers. That was the beginning of their nightmare. Tyler had been hit by a car and been left for dead. Their beautiful son's life had been cut short and the person responsible had kept driving.
The grief they felt has never eased and the roadblocks they have faced in their search for justice have simply added to it. Sadly, Tyler Dean is not the only person who has been let down by hit and run laws. This is what spurred Jeynelle and Josh to push for change in Australia. Today, they are advocates for changes in the laws against drivers who flee the scene of an accident. But more still needs to be done, because “car crime is a joke,” according to Jeynelle.