POLICE say fatigue may have been a factor in yesterday's head-on highway smash at Moonee Beach.
About 2.50pm a Kia Sorento was travelling south when it crossed to the wrong side of the road and sideswiped a northbound Toyota Corolla, which slammed into a guard rail.
The Kia then struck a Toyota Camry station wagon head-on.
The Kia driver, a 71-year-old Grafton man, sustained a fractured sternum and rib fractures.
The driver of the Corolla, a 60-year-old Terrigal woman, suffered neck pain.
A Victorian man, 20, who was driving the station wagon, was trapped for about 40 minutes.
He sustained multiple fractures including a broken right leg and breaks to his ankles and left wrist along with serious cuts to his knees.
All three were taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus for treatment.
Traffic was banked up for at least 10 kilometres either side of the accident zone as the injured were loaded into a fleet of ambulances and the wrecks were cleared from the road.
The shocking smash was one of three which happened on the Pacific Highway yesterday.
A boy, 16, was killed when the Ford Falcon he was travelling in crashed into an embankment on the Pacific Highway about 15km south of New Italy.
The driver, a 44-year-old Tyndale man, sustained internal injuries and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a serious condition, as was a 15-year-old girl who was also a passenger in the car.
Then at 5.30pm a young woman died in a head-on collision on the Pacific Highway at Clybucca when the Mitsubishi Mirage she was driving slammed into an oncoming Holden Commodore station wagon.
The 23-year-old woman from Shepparton in Victoria died at the scene while an elderly man and woman who were in the Holden sustained chest and abdominal injuries.
Elsewhere, slippery conditions brought a driver to grief on the Orara Way at Glenreagh yesterday. The SES was tasked to the scene when it was initially feared the driver was trapped but crews were later stood down.