Jessica Falkholt has had her life support switched off by her devastated family weeks after the Boxing Day crash that claimed the lives of her parents and sister.
The 28-year-old Home and Away actress’ family made the decision on Thursday evening, just one day after the funeral of father Lars, mother Vivian and sibling Annabelle.
Parents Lars, 69, and Vivian, 60, died at the crash scene on the Princes Highway near Sussex Inlet, south of Sydney.
Annabelle, 21, was flown to Liverpool Hospital in a critical condition, where she died as a result of her injuries on December 29.
Jessica’s extended family had kept a bedside vigil in the Intensive Care Unit at St George Hospital where she was in a medically induced coma.
They previously told Daily Mail Australia an operation on her brain ‘went well’ and they were waiting for the results of the surgery.
Lars, Vivian and Annabelle were remembered by hundreds of family and friends at St Mary’s Catholic Church at Concord in Sydney’s west on Wednesday.
Jordan Brohier, the shattered boyfriend of Annabelle, led pallbearers as they carried the 21-year-old’s white coffin out of the church.
Dressed in a black suit and tie, he buried his face in his hands and was comforted by friends after helping load the casket into a hearse ready to be taken away for burial.
Jessica and Anabelle’s uncle Paul Ponticello told a packed funeral service at the church in Sydney’s inner-west that Christmas would forever haunt their family.
‘It is a day that will be difficult to erase from our memory,’ he said.
‘Their lives on this earth ending on a highway makes absolutely no sense.’
Mr. Ponticello also thanked the ‘saviors’ who risked their lives to pull Annabelle and Jessica from the inferno.
He said Mr. Falkholt had always been a careful driver and he would often joke about having to add on time to any trip, which he called the ‘Lars factor’.
‘The irony of this tragedy is Lars was such a careful driver,’ Mr. Ponticello said.
‘Whenever asking how long it would take to drive somewhere I would suggest an average for a normal driver and then add some additional time for the Lars factor. We always had a good laugh.
‘They are together and always will be… You will always be remembered and in our hearts forever. Rest in Peace.’
Close friends stayed with the rising TV star during the funeral, holding a bedside vigil as she remained in a coma in St George Hospital, Sydney, after the Boxing Day crash.
A relative of the Falkholt family told Daily Mail Australia they had made it a priority for the constant support Jessica has received since the accident to continue during the time of the funeral.
‘We made sure Jess wasn’t alone and her friends were able to be there with her,’ a relative told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Everything we have done and every decision we have made has been done with the advice of doctors and social workers. No decision is made without Jessica’s wants in mind.
‘Jess was a very private girl and while we’re thankful for public thoughts and interest, we are just trying to honor what she’d want.’
Craig Anthony Whitall, 50, a serial driving offender who was behind the wheel of the other vehicle, was also killed in the crash.
Whitall, a P-plater, was reportedly driving home from a methadone clinic when the collision occurred.
Whitall was a known drug user and had been jailed for driving offenses.
It has been revealed Whitall – who also died in the fiery crash – had served four jail sentences for traffic offenses, was banned for driving for nine years and had at least 10 convictions for driving while disqualified, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The coronial investigation into the crash will focus on whether Mr. Whitall was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
Craig Whitall claimed a disability pension and used 28 aliases to avoid police, and he drove a car every day after he was caught breaking the law.
His 26-year-old son Shane appeared in court on Thursday charged with dangerous and recklessly driving an uninsured Toyota Camry in Ulladulla in September.
Four of Craig Whitall’s convictions for driving without a license came in the same month.
Witnesses told police they saw Whitall’s Prado swerving on the opposite side of the road moments before the crash.
He was driving on P-plates at the time after getting his license back a year earlier.
He had been banned from driving from July 2004 to July 2013.
Whitall was jailed for nine months for driving while disqualified in August 2004.
‘He was an awesome father, the best. I couldn’t ask for anything more of him,’ his son Shane told Seven News.
‘He did what he could and that’s all you can ask of anyone. He was my hero in my eyes, he was my idol.’
Another family member described the reaction to the fatal crash as ‘very hurtful’ and said Mr. Whitall liked his privacy.
‘It’s very hurtful for me to think they’re talking about Craig like that, he was very private and didn’t like people talking about him,’ the woman said.
‘He’s got grand-kids that are listening to it.’
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