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How you can help at a crash scene

AS GYMPIE colleagues Annette Nugent and Michelle Boreham drove between work sites, everything was going along as usual.

They never expected the drive would turn into an event they would never forget, no matter how hard they tried.

They were driving along Bli Bli Rd about 11.30am in wet weather.

Annette was driving and pulled over to take a 30-second phone call before continuing the trip towards the Sunshine Coast from Gympie.

But in nearly no time at all, just a kilometre on from where Annette had taken the call, neither woman could be found inside the still-running car.

The pair had driven into the scene of a fatal traffic crash.

One car was down a roadside embankment, with its front-end crushed.

The other, a four-wheel-drive, sat on its roof across one lane.

Annette hadn't even turned the car off before she was out and hurrying to check the victims. Michelle had agreed to head back up the hill they had just driven over to stop more traffic being involved.

Neither of the women could get far before they were greeted by a man who had witnessed the carnage unfold.

"He was in shock, he just said, 'it's just happened, it just rolled and rolled'," Michelle recalled.

While the male driver of the four-wheel-drive called out to tell Annette he was all right, sadly the man in the other car did not respond.

There was little Annette could do from him but that didn't stop her trying.

While the images of the man's face have now faded from her mind, there is one thing Annette will never forget about that day: a suitcase and bag of soft toys that sat on the passenger's seat next to the elderly man.

"They keep going through my mind," she said.

"My parents live in New South Wales ... and I know how much my kids anticipate their arrival.

"I thought they were toys for his grandchildren.

"I kept thinking how many kids were waiting for him to arrive and have police arrive on their front doorstep instead of Poppy.

"Two or three nights a week I still wonder where were the kids? Who were the toys for?"

Amazingly, it was the third time Annette had been on the scene of a fatality.

She said there were two pieces of advice she would give to drivers if they come across a crash.

Firstly, keep a pair of rubber gloves in a first-aid kit, and secondly, spend a little time and just think of what they would do if faced with a similar situation.

"The first thing the need to be able to do is call 000; seconds count."

As for drivers taking a little extra risk on the roads, she begged them not to.

"Accidents don't happen," she said.

"There is a whole section of the community that are innocent victims of (a crash)... who need to deal with the consequences of your actions."

"Nobody wants to come across a fatal accident.

"Nobody wants to do that stuff."

Michelle said that tragic day would never leave her or Annette.

"It's horrible," Michelle said. "It has an impact."

Gympie Times

Topics:  bruce highway, road safety



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