'He's Not A Fighter': Friends Shocked At Road-Rage Brawl Before Father-Of-Two Hit, Killed By Truck
Friends of father-of-two Stephen Edwards, who was killed after being hit by a truck while fighting on a NSW highway, have told 10 daily the brawl was 'out of character'.
Clint Bonney told 10 daily he's known Edwards since they were about five years old and the pair had a "life-long friendship".
He said Edwards was his "very first friend" and described him as a generous man who was deeply loved.
Bonney claimed he was shocked to hear about the roadside brawl but that "if a woman was in [Edwards'] car, he'd be sure to protect her and anyone else in danger."
"Stephen [was] the kid with the heart of a lion. A protector of his little brother, Wayne," Bonney said.
"Always had time for any man and would have given the shirt off his back to keep ya warm," he continued.
Bonney's sister Tanya remembers Edwards as her "first love" and "one of the very best people you could ever have in your life."
"He would do anything for anyone," she said.
She told 10 daily she was surprised to hear about the affray as Edwards was "more of a lover than a fighter".
"The other person would have had to have thrown the first punch for Stephen to react (sic)," she said.
"Who in their right mind would start a fight on a highway?" she added.
Edwards' best friend Rhys Roberts says he was like "a brother" to him and that he had a love for animals, including his dog 'Cloud'.
"I will always remember him for his thirst for knowledge, his massive heart, his odd sense of humour. He always tried to help people and make others happy," Roberts told 10 daily.
In the wake of his death, Edwards' father Noel took to Facebook to post a moving tribute to his son.
"Stephen Edwards passed away at the Woodburn truck accident tonight. Rest in Peace to a devoted father, son, brother and friend. We love and miss you forever son," his father wrote.
Edwards' brother Wayne commented on the post: "Wish it wasn't real Stephen but I do love you, never said it enough. I will always remember you, miss you mate, love you."
Edwards had been driving an SUV on the Pacific Highway, with his girlfriend in the car, when he had an altercation with the driver of a semi-trailer who was carrying logs south of Ballina on Monday.
It's alleged the driver of the semi-trailer had been tailgating Edward's vehicle.
The young father, aged in his 30s, and the other driver, aged in his 40s, got out of their vehicles and started brawling in the northbound south of Woodburn before they were struck by a truck.
It's understood the truck driver, a 35-year-old man from Albury, had switched lanes to avoid their vehicles before crashing into them as they fought at about 8.10 pm.
Police described the scene as "horrific" and said the highway was closed for nine hours on Tuesday as a result of the crash.
Edwards and the unidentified man from Smiths Lakes sustained multiple injuries as a result of the crash and died on the highway.
Chief Inspector Bill McKenna said drivers should pull over rather than confront another driver.
"Just pull over and contact police -- there is nothing worth losing your life over," McKenna told reporters on Tuesday.
The driver of the truck was taken to Ballina Hospital where he has undergone mandatory blood and urine testing.