Updated | Youth dies after falling from back of ute on 4WD track at Lucas Heights

Police have warned of the dangers of travelling without a seatbelt following the death of a teenager, who fell from the back of a moving ute at Lucas Heights.

Aaron Tonkinson, 18, died when the Toyota Hilux hit a ditch on a 4WD drive track off Heathcote Road about 8.15 on Thursday.

The driver and his other passenger assisted the injured youth until paramedics arrived, but Aaron died at the scene.

The driver, 18, was taken to Sutherland Hospital for mandatory testing.

He was later charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning death, not fastening seatbelt properly and two counts of having an unrestrained passenger.

"Sadly, these events have occurred in the past where people have either lost their lives or been seriously injured," NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol chief inspector Phil Brooks said.

So far this year, 183 people have been killed on NSW roads. Data from the NSW Centre for Road Safety shows that 85 were drivers, 28 were passengers, 25 were motorcyclists, 38 were pedestrians and six were cyclists. More than three-quarters of those killed were male.

Chief Inspector Brooks said the data reflected the risks some people were taking.

"With [183] lives lost so far this year, it's that many family, friends and loved ones that have had to suffer the pain and suffering of losing someone on our roads," he said.

"The key element for all road users is personal responsibly: drivers, riders, cyclists and pedestrians all have a role in sharing our roads and being aware of their surroundings to make sure that everyone gets to and from their destination safely."

Of the passenger fatalities - which include people travelling in ute trays - Chief Inspector Brooks said not wearing a seatbelt was a critical factor.

"It’s those passengers not wearing seatbelts that find themselves in the greatest difficulty," he said


A man has been charged after a teenager fell from a utility tray and died at Lucas Heights yesterday.

About 8.15pm yesterday emergency services were called to a 4WD track off Heathcote Road at Lucas Heights, after reports a man fell from the utility tray of a Toyota Hilux.

The driver and his other passenger, a 19-year-old man, assisted the 18-year-old man until the arrival of NSW Ambulance paramedics, but he died at the scene.

The driver, also aged 18, was taken to Sutherland Hospital for mandatory testing.

Officers from Sutherland Shire Police Area Command established a crime scene.

Traffic and Highway Patrol police commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Following his release from hospital, the 18-year-old was arrested and taken to Sutherland Police Station where he was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning death, driver not fasten seatbelt properly and unrestrained passenger (x2).

The teen was granted conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday 30 August 2018.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.