By CRAIG McTEAR
FRANK and Joyce Mulley were lucky not to have been killed by an act of bastardry on the Pacific Highway at Boambee this week.
Frank, 69, and Joyce, 65, from Lismore, were on their way home from Nambucca Heads on Wednesday afternoon when a large rock was thrown at their Ford Falcon utility from bushes at the side of the road.
They were 200m south of the Lyons Road overpass when they heard a loud explosion and travelled a further 100m before they realised what had happened.
The rock pulverised the forward window in the side of the rear fibreglass canopy, only inches from where Joyce was seated in the front.
"We were pretty lucky really," Frank said.
"When I heard the bang I thought a stone had flown up and hit the car, and then I saw the window was gone.
"I pulled up at Bunnings and I couldn't see a rock, but there was a big white mark where it hit.
"It shook the both of us up, and we now realise how close it came to my wife's head. It was quite frightening."
The couple make regular trips to Nambucca Heads where they have a relocatable home, and were travelling back to Lismore for Joyce to meet a medical appointment. The incident made them 45 minutes late.
"I had to travel the rest of the way slowly because the wind was tearing the back of the ute apart," Frank said.
"We'd stopped at Coffs Harbour Police Station to report what had happened and I told them I didn't expect them to find who did it, but I suspect it was young people in the bush playing silly buggers.
"The police said it was a fairly common occurrence. What's the world coming to when people do these sorts of things?"
Frank was making arrangements yesterday to have his window fixed, and he figured he'd be up for at least $200.
"But it's not the money I'm concerned about, it's the safety side of it," he said. "I've been a mechanic all my life and I've never had anyone bring their car to me to repair this type of vandalism."
Frank is determined not to let the incident stop him from driving down the highway.
"No way in the world. Once in 50 years ? you don't give up," he said.
Sergeant John Patacko from Coffs Harbour police was appalled by what had happened to the couple. He confirmed inquiries were continuing.
"It's very dangerous. It's not only the smashing of a window, but it could cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash," Sgt Patacko said.