By CRAIG McTEAR
WAYNE O'Hara lies semi-conscious in his hospital bed, recovering from the horrible injuries he sustained in Coffs Harbour more than six weeks ago.
The Boambee 51-year-old suffered severe head and facial injuries, a fractured bone in his back, a fractured pelvis, and severe cuts and broken bones in his arms and legs when he was run over by a city council street-sweeping truck in Albany Street.
Wayne had been celebrating his birthday on New Year's Eve and was believed to be walking from the Jetty to a friend's place when he stepped into the path of the truck about 3.30am on New Year's Day.
Police believe he stepped onto the road from the southern kerb at the Curacoa Street intersection. The truck which hit him was heading west, was in transit and was not sweeping at the time.
He was trapped under the truck for 40 minutes and was taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus. He was then transferred to Sydney's St George Hospital, where he has remained ever since.
Members of his family who have been regularly visiting him acknowledge he faces many, many months of treatment and rehabilitation before he can hope to return to a normal life.
His brother, Paul, said doctors at St George Hospital's high dependency unit had initially placed Wayne in an induced coma to allow the swelling in his brain to subside, and he was also on life support.
He has since been moved to a ward.
"At this stage, the doctors are waiting to see if he improves so he can go into a rehabilitation unit for his brain injuries," Paul said.
"When we try to speak to him, we know he can understand what we're saying, but he can only answer basic questions.
"Unfortunately, he is still unable to tell us what happened (in the accident)."
That's why Paul has appealed for people who may have seen Wayne, or who may have witnessed the collision, to contact Coffs Harbour police.
Wayne, who has two teenage children, owns a small banana plantation on Englands Road, where he has lived for the past few years.
When asked to describe his brother, Paul said he 'calls a spade a spade'.
"He's a larrikin, and he enjoys life."
Police are continuing their inquiries into the accident.