Young man dies
By TOBY WALKER
ANOTHER young life was lost on the Pacific Highway yesterday when a 17-year-old driver reportedly swerved to miss a kangaroo before crashing into a tree.
The teenager, believed to be from Toormina, sustained fatal injuries while a 14-year-old female passenger was left with serious head and arm injuries when their Hyundai Excel left the highway around 10am near the Franklins Road intersection at Halfway Creek.
A 17-year-old male and 14-year-old female travelling in the back seat escaped serious injury and were taken to Grafton Base Hospital for treatment.
According to Acting Inspector Steve Black, the car swerved to miss a kangaroo while driving south on the dual carriageway before crossing the highway and colliding with a gum tree.
There were no witnesses to the accident but passing motorists alerted emergency services.
Traffic on the highway was stopped around 10.30am as police, firefighters, ambulance officers and SES workers scrambled across the road to free the injured teenagers from the wreckage.
Two tow-truck drivers attached chains to their vehicles to create a pulley system that lifted the car's crumpled chassis from around the young man before he could be freed from the car through its rear hatch.
Aboriginal Medical Service doctor Raymond Jones and Grafton ambulance officer Trevor Green had been heading toward Grafton separately when they arrived at the banked up northbound traffic.
They were among the first to treat the stricken driver who had been crushed on impact with the tree.
According to Dr Jones, the young man was pulled from his vehicle unconscious suffering what was believed to be serious internal injuries.
Despite efforts to revive him in the rear of a nearby ambulance, the young man died in Dr Jones' arms a short time later.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter arrived from Lismore around the same time to airlift the 14-year-old female front seat passenger to Coffs Harbour Hospital.
Yesterday's accident takes the number of deaths on the stretch of highway between Grafton and Coffs Harbour to five in the past 15 days.