Death defied

By JENI FAULKNER

ONE week after receiving his P-plates Robert Lock swears he won't drive on the Pacific Highway again, and who could blame him.

At just 17, Robert now knows what it's like to think you are about to die.

And, for this reason, he says he doesn't want to drive for a long time, especially from his home in Sandy Beach to Coffs Harbour.

His accident happened about 2.55pm on Thursday when he overtook a car on the overtaking lanes south near the Bucca Road turn off.

As Robert was overtaking, he came around a bend and noticed a grass cutter taking up part of the road.

It was too late for Robert to back off because of the truck tailing him and, in a desperate attempt to avoid a head-on collision, Robert slammed on his brakes.

"I swerved to avoid hitting the car (he was overtaking) and I hoped the truckie would be able to brake, too, but he was too close," Robert said.

"The hit was so powerful I just couldn't believe it."

The smash to the Holden station wagon threw Robert's seat backwards and he could no longer see the road.

The rear windows popped and shattered and Robert was left helpless and blind.

"I was lying down and I can't really remember anything from then on except that I thought I was going to die. I don't even remember hitting the guard rail."

Robert was assisted by the truck driver and cars who witnessed the accident, and shortly after police and an ambulance arrived on the scene.

He suffered sore arms, corked calf muscles, a swollen ankle and a damaged toe, but many would agree he is lucky to have escaped with his life.

"I was six months late getting my Ls so I am one of the late ones among my friends to be driving," he said.

"I was so happy to be able to get on the road but now I am thinking differently."

Robert's mother Jo said she was frantic when she heard her son had been in an accident because so many lives have been lost.

"We've lived in Sandy Beach for 15 years and we hear about all these accidents on the highway, they just have to be stopped," Ms Lock said.

"This is our local road, the Pacific Highway, and this is my oldest child, the first to get a licence. Is this what I have to look forward to?

"This is a small community and we all need to so something to stop this happening."

Police said investigations were continuing into the accident.

Robert's accident on Thursday was just two kilometres south from where 19-year-old Tyne Nicholson of Woolgoolga lost her life on April 21.

Ms Lock said residents from Sandy Beach were now trying to form a lobby group.

The group is called BAN and stands for Bypass Action Network. Its first meeting will be held on May 3 at the Woolgoolga Public School at 7pm. Ms Lock said she hoped all groups would attend the initial meeting.

For more information phone 6656 1242.



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