‘Powerful’ gesture for Stevens’ emotional letter on Charlie

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton made the commitment to read the two-page tribute from Grant Stevens and wife Emma about their son, Charlie, who died on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old became the 101st person to die on SA’s roads this year after he was killed in an alleged hit-and-run.

Just a day earlier he had been celebrating finishing high school at Schoolies in Goolwa, 90km southeast of Adelaide.

“I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six drinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it’s perfect. This is where 101 lived,” the parents wrote.

“101 is Charles Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve. You lived life and gave so much to so many. You were a force of nature and we will never forget your beautiful cheeky, disarming smile.

“Son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, friends, workmate, teammate. So much more than just a number on a tragic tally.”

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens wrote the letter to his son Charlie, whom he described as a ‘force of nature’. Picture: Supplied
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens wrote the letter to his son Charlie, whom he described as a ‘force of nature’. Picture: Supplied

Mr Dutton committed to reading the heartbreaking letter into the Hansard, the official record of parliamentary proceedings, as a gesture to Mr Stevens.

“I, like everyone, you read it, you know my kids are of a similar age and it really hits home,” he told Melbourne’s 3AW.

“It really hits home and the way that he was able to present it in his letter, I thought, was one of the most powerful things I’ve read.”

Mr Dutton urged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to convene a national cabinet meeting of state and territory leaders in order to address the road toll crisis.

Earlier, a visibly upset SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said he and his wife Annabel shed tears as they read the emotional letter.

“Here’s a family that is grieving, has every reason to be utterly devastated and thinking about themselves and how they get through it yet what they’re doing is thinking of others,” Mr Malinauskas said as his voice started to break.

Mr Dutton, a former cop, said he would read the letter into the parliament record. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“Thinking about how this tragedy might translate to a lesson for everybody else in the community, not just thinking about their son but thinking about the other 100 victims who’ve been lost in the road toll.

“What marvellous people.”

Charlie was waiting for a bus when he was allegedly struck by Dhirren Randhawa, 18, about 9pm on Friday.

He died 22 hours later having suffered an irreversible brain injury.

Mr Randhawa was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated driving without due care, leaving the scene of a crash after causing death and failing to truly answer questions.

He was granted bail on Tuesday. He will next face court in March.