PATRICK Rhall only lived in Warrnambool for a year but those who knew the man will never forget him.
The Highton 23-year-old died tragically on Thursday when his car smashed head-on into an oncoming truck and burst into flames on the Princes Highway, at Warncoort.
It is believed his blue VE Commodore station wagon crossed to the wrong side of a straight stretch of the highway when it collided with a truck just before 7am.
After about a year working at Safeway and Woolworths stores in Warrnambool, Mr Rhall moved back to Geelong to be closer to his family in the middle of this year.
From there he made the drive to Colac for work each day, as he was doing on the day of his accident.
Former workmate Phil Baker from Warrnambool said Mr Rhall was a great bloke and always easy to get along with during their 12 months working together.
“He was always up for a joke and didn’t take anything too seriously,” he told The Standard.
“He was the one who recommended me for his position at the new store in Dennington and he was the bloke that hired me at Woolies, so I wouldn’t actually be where I am today without him.
“He was just an all-round nice guy.
“He loved hanging out with his mates for a few beers.
“Every weekend when he was down here he’d go back to Geelong to see his family so he moved back because he was homesick.”
Mr Baker said former colleagues at Woolworths were in shock at the devastating news.
“I didn’t know what to say when I first heard it.
“I got the call about 10am yesterday morning and when the store manager told us it was disbelief at first.
“I was a wreck and I still don’t think it’s sunk in.”
The state’s provisional road toll sits at 277 compared with 284 at the same time last year.