19yo thrown several metres by car in fatal nightclub crash
A young woman killed when an allegedly out-of-control driver ploughed into her and her friends outside a Wollongong club overnight has been identified.
Libby Ruge, 19, was walking along Flinders Street near the Collegians club around 10.30pm on Saturday night when a Toyota Camry allegedly lost control, mounted the kerb and struck her and three of her friends as they walked along the footpath.
When police arrived they found Miss Ruge with multiple critical injuries, performing CPR until paramedics arrived. She was assessed at the horrific scene and taken to Wollongong Hospital where she died a short time later.
NSW Ambulance Acting Superintendent Oliver Altman said the group was "propelled several metres" after they were struck by the vehicle.
"[Miss Ruge] was unconscious … we tried to resuscitate her on scene but the head injuries that occurred which made the patient very critical," he said.
Wollongong Police Chief Inspector Geoffrey Olsen described the incident as tragic, saying the group had been enjoying a night out together before they were hit.
"It's a tragic event and from what I understand they'd been out together socialising and they were simply walking home or to another venue. It's terrible," he said.
"[Miss Ruge's] family were spoken to, they were at the scene last night … [They are] devastated of course."
Miss Ruge's friends, an 18-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, were also injured, while a 20-year-old male pedestrian escaped injury.
Police believe the Toyota Camry was being driven by an 18-year-old man when it crashed into Miss Ruge and her friends and hit a pole.
They said the driver got out and left the vehicle before being located a short distance away.
The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to Wollongong Hospital where he remains under police guard.
Police this afternoon said he had not been charged over the accident and were investigating whether drugs or alcohol had played a role.
A 21-year-old passenger in the car, who was uninjured, was arrested and is assisting police with their inquiries at Wollongong Police Station.
Devastated friends said Libby had recently celebrated her 19th birthday.
"She's an amazing girl this is so freaky, we just can't believe it we are devastated. What a beautiful girl," one friend said.
A witness to the accident described the scene was "scary".
"We walked down there to go to the club (Collegians) and there were just police and ambulances everywhere," he said. "It was pretty scary to see. Everyone was very upset."
Miss Ruge was well-known in the Illawarra and graduated from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts in 2019.
In an online talent profile, Miss Ruge described herself as "fun and bubbly", saying she was "extremely reliable and hardworking".
Officers from the Crash Investigation Unit have examined the scene and are appealing for anyone with information about the incident, or who has dashcam vision, to contact Wollongong Police or the CIU.
Originally published as 19yo thrown several metres by car in fatal nightclub crash