HOLIDAY HORROR BEGINS
By CRAIG McTEAR
SUE Hoare's stomach turned when another highway smash happened before her eyes yesterday morning.
Sue and her husband, Michael, own the Woolgoolga Chiropractic Clinic in River Street and feared the worst when all hell broke loose on the highway only metres from their business.
Sue rang the ambulance in the chaotic moments following the three-car pile-up, one of three highway accidents in the Coffs Harbour area yesterday.
"It's a sickening feeling. It's horrible to see another accident happen outside our workplace," Sue said.
"It needs to be highlighted, with all of the heavy traffic on our road at the moment.
"I've got three children who drive on the highway every day."
Sue said the smash happened in the same spot where a car and a semi-trailer collided in August, claiming the life of Grafton identity Brinos Notaras.
At 8.50am yesterday, about 200m south of Pacific Highway roundabout at Woolgoolga, a northbound Toyota four-wheel-drive sideswiped a large boat on a trailer which was being towed south by a Nissan four-wheel-drive.
The Toyota then crossed to the wrong side of the road, smashing head-on into a southbound Holden Commodore sedan travelling behind the trailer. The Toyota then rolled.
The Toyota driver, a Lewisham woman, 53, suffered chest injuries. Her husband, 47, suffered bruising to his left arm, and lower back and chest pain. Both were taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
Another man in the car, 27, had minor cuts to his hands and feet. Two young girls in the car were not injured.
The Commodore driver, a Griffith man, 42, suffered a left-arm injury and his wife, 32, had chest pain. They and their two young children went to hospital.
The five Nissan occupants were not injured.
The highway was blocked for an hour during the rescue and salvage operation, and traffic was diverted through Clarence and River streets. Police are continuing their inquiries into the cause of the accident.
An ACT man, 73, was trapped for an hour in the wreck of his Toyota Lexcen on the Pacific Highway at Corindi yesterday.
Eyewitnesses told police the northbound Lexcen appeared to drift to the wrong side of the road into the path of a southbound Toyota Camry at 1pm, about 400m south of Coral Drive.
Both vehicles came to rest 100m apart, blocking both highway lanes.
Rescue crews freed the man, who suffered leg injuries. He and his wife, 74, who had a seatbelt injury, were taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
The Camry driver, a Currumbin Waters man, 75, was also taken to hospital with leg injuries, while his wife, 65, went to hospital with arm and chest injuries.
The highway was closed in both directions for 90 minutes. Traffic could not be diverted through Corindi because of the prior closure of a bridge in Coral Drive for repairs.
A semi-trailer laden with fruit and vegetables ran off the Pacific Highway south of Urunga at 5.40am yesterday. The driver escaped with minor injuries, but salvage crews worked throughout the day to right the vehicle and clean up the mess.
Senior Constable Scott Jackson from Coffs Harbour highway patrol said motorists should take their time in a bid to avoid disaster during this busy time on the roads.
"Have your breaks. Don't die for a deadline," Const. Jackson said.
"Get to your destination safely and use commonsense. There's no rush."
Operation Safe Arrival, covering the Christmas and New Year periods, starts tomorrow and runs through to January 6, while Operation NorthRoads continues until January 29.