The Kilmore Primary School community is mourning the loss of former teacher Jess West, who died in a crash in western Victoria last month.
The crash on December 29 also claimed the life of Ms West’s five-year-old son Deighton.
Ms West’s vehicle collided with a truck at the intersection of Kingston Road and Church Parade, 25 kilometres north of Ballarat.
Both passengers died at the scene. Ms West’s husband Anthony and nine-year-old son Oakley were also injured.
Police have charged the truck driver, a 59-year-old man from Western Australia, with two counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Ms West taught at Kilmore Primary School when she was Miss Shearer before moving to Strathfieldsaye Primary School in Bendigo, where she had taught for the past 10 years.
In a joint public statement, Ms West’s family described her as an exceptional woman.
“Jess West was an exceptional, generous and caring woman with a bubbly personality… Jess will be greatly missed by family, friends, her school community and sporting and recreational bodies in the Bendigo region,” the statement said.
“Jess was a devoted loving wife of Anthony West and mum of Oakley who is 9 years old. Jess was and always will be the love of Anthony’s life. She would walk into a room and instantly make the vibe of the room better like no other. There aren’t enough words to use to express how much he will miss Jess.”
In a letter sent to the North Central Review, Ms West was described as full of life and being born to teach.
“She had bright, bubbly, vibrant personality which was often matched by her vivid hair colours and styles,” Ms Avery said.
“Jess made teaching fun. Her passion for teaching her students and life shone through on a daily basis.
“She was respected and loved by her peers and students alike at KPS so much so that when she told her students that she was marrying the love of her life Anthony, some of her students and families headed up to Bendigo to see her get married.”
Kilmore Primary School was contacted for comment but did not respond before the Review’s deadline.