Motorists have lucky escape from disaster
By ROXANNE MILLAR
DOZENS of motorists were lucky to escape serious injury yesterday in two separate accidents that left almost 15 cars badly damaged along the Tweed Bypass.
At 9am a Kingscliff man and his 15-year-old son were heading north in their blue 4WD when they collided with a van near the Queensland/NSW border.
The two cars were sent spinning off the road, through two trees only eight metres apart, down an embankment and into a fence in thick scrub.
Four-wheel-drive motorist John Kelleher said his son suffered minor injuries in the accident and was taken to the Tweed Hospital.
"I don't know how we got out of there without hitting the trees, we are so lucky," he said.
As emergency workers salvaged the badly damaged cars, RTA workers set-up a "slow-zone" to slow down the traffic in the northbound lane of the highway.
At 10.30am cars were slowly passing over the bridge across the Terranora Inlet when a semi-trailer began to bear down on them at a moderate speed.
For unknown reasons, the semi was not able to slow and drivers quickly moved to the far sides of their lanes to avoid getting hit.
But stuck on a bridge, they could only move as far as concrete barriers would allow them.
One driver, on holidays from Sydney, described the vision of the semi looming in his rear-view mirror as "frightening".
"I had my little son in the back seat on the driver's side and I just knew I had to get as close to the barrier as possible to protect him. If we were going to get hit, he would get hurt," the man said.
Unfortunately, most of the cars did get hit.
The semi-trailer travelled up the centre of the two lanes, hitting car every car that protruded into its path.
A Volkswagen Golf was thrown into the air and landed on its side when the truck hit it.
Other cars were pushed along by the semi and spun around to face the south. More were rammed into the concrete barriers.
After passing 13 cars on the bridge, and causing damage to at least seven, the semi came to a stop at the end of the bridge - its young driver badly shaken.
The motorists quickly banded together to help each other, pulling a woman trapped in the Volkswagen out of the car as fuel leaked from its tank.
Emergency workers and witnesses said it was a miracle that no-one had been seriously injured in the crash.
Two people were taken to the Tweed Hospital with minor injuries.