Scarred for life
By CRAIG McTEAR
TRUCKIE David Haebich still finds it hard to talk about the morning last week when he almost lost the love of his life, Wendy Parker, at Pine Creek.
Their broken bodies will eventually heal, but the emotional scars are another matter entirely.
Wendy was thrown from the cabin of the B-double her partner of 12 years was driving north on the Pacific Highway at 4.40am on Tuesday. They'd left Urunga only minutes earlier after an overnight rest stop.
Wendy was shaken from her sleep in the rear when David hit a 'bit of rough road' while negotiating a sweeping Pine Creek bend.
"It pulled the back trailer over. I could feel it and I yelled to Wendy to hang on," David said.
"She was yelling at me 'what's going on'.
"The whole thing went on it's side and was skidding. I was trying to climb up onto the passenger door."
The truck rushed down an embankment on the other side of the road and smashed into a stand of trees, leaving the two trailers stretched across the highway.
The load of sunflower meal being delivered to Dalby in Queensland was strewn across the road and down the bank.
Wendy had been flung into scrub through the front window while the truck was still skidding along the highway. When she came to, she didn't know where she was.
David, meanwhile, thought Wendy was still inside with him.
"All the bedding was up against the dash. I was frantically looking for Wendy in the cabin," David said.
"I was yelling out 'where are you, where are you'. "When I was yelling out her name she didn't answer. I went into shock and I thought 'she's dead, I've killed her'.
"Then, she started to moan and murmur."
Wendy was buried under a sea of stockfeed six metres from the wreckage and when she finally heard David, she cried out 'I'm here', choking on grain as she did so.
"When I heard her, I said 'Oh my God, she's still alive'. I knew that even if she'd lost a limb, she'd survived," David said.
"I climbed out and found her a blanket. I ran onto the road and asked a truckie who'd pulled up behind me if he had a torch, but he didn't.
"Then a guy in a (southbound) semi-trailer ploughed into my trailer."
Wendy was still lying in the bush when she heard the bang. She panicked because she thought 'it would come down on me'.
This semi driver had a torch and when David shone the light on Wendy, he saw her covered in blood.
"I asked her if anything was broken and she said no, then yes, then everything," he said.
Emergency crews arrived within minutes and the couple were taken to hospital in separate ambulances.
Wendy had a split down her forehead, a fractured nose, severe bruising, a grazed sternum and possible ligament damage, while David copped up to three fractured ribs, cuts and bruising.
"It was pretty horrific," Wendy said.
They were discharged from hospital at the weekend and were looking forward to some tender loving care from family and friends on their return to rural Victoria.
They're also looking forward to the day when the Pine Creek deathtrap will finally be bypassed.