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'I was broken already, but this broke my heart'

WHILE holding up a broken neck, the mangled car still surrounding her, Sheree Williamson didn't think anyone would stop and help.

Now, three weeks after the incident, Ms Williamson wants to find the guardian angels who rescued her from a horror smash at Jackadgery.

Ms Williamson was driving home to Grafton just before dawn on November 19 when she lost control of her car. The vehicle left the road and rolled, coming to rest on its side.

"I can't remember what happened, if I fell asleep or not, but I wasn't intoxicated," she said.

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When Ms Williamson came to, she found herself still strapped into the driver's seat. The car was resting on its right side with the front windscreen and roof caved in just centimetres from her face.

"It makes me cry looking at the photos of the car; to think how lucky I am to still be here," she said.

 

Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton. Pictured (above left) is the remains of her wrecked car.
Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton. Pictured (above left) is the remains of her wrecked car. Contributed

While Ms Williamson was relieved to find her legs weren't trapped, unbeknownst to her, she had broken her neck in two places.

"It just felt like a sore neck, like I had slept on it the wrong way, but I knew something was seriously wrong because I couldn't hold it up without using my hands," she said.

"I then sat in the car for about 30 seconds, working myself up to get up and out of the car because I knew no one was going to come and get me," she said.

 

Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton.
Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton. Rob Williams

Ms Williamson finally unbuckled her seatbelt and started the difficult task of freeing herself from the wreckage. But first she had to find her phone to call for help.

"I found it down by the accelerator pedal, but it was difficult to reach it, so I had to get a piece of plastic and drag it toward me," she said.

Once the phone was in her hand, she began to climb up through a little gap between the front and back seat.

"I only just had enough room to squish through," she said.

"I held my head and slid myself up and out of the car. I hung my arms over the edge of the car to hold my head up."

With just three per cent of battery life left, Ms Williamson messaged friends and family for help, then switched on the phone's spotlight to try and get someone's attention in the pre-dawn light.

"I started screaming and waving my phone as cars went past, but no one stopped," she said.

"Two trucks and around five cars drove past me. I was broken already, but that just broke my heart."

Faced with the terrifying reality she might be stuck there until after sunrise, Ms Williamson began to panic.

"I was just screaming; screaming out for someone to help me," she said.

Finally, Ms Williamson spotted a white four-door Toyota Hilux trayback with a yellow mark on it pulling up in the distance.

Two men in high-vis shirts jumped out of the car and headed for the wreck.

"I started screaming at them, telling them to get me out. I feel so rude for screaming at them like that; I was terrified," she said.

One man, described as in his late 20s, sat with her while the other, described in their late 30s, began phoning triple zero and assessing the damage.

Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton.
Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton. Rob Williams

Ms Williamson said a second vehicle arrived to help but couldn't recall many details.

"The last thing I remember is someone saying, 'we need an airlift from Jackadgery' and the next thing I know I'm waking up in hospital," she said.

Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter airlifted her to the Gold Coast University Hospital, where it was revealed she had broken her C2 and C3 vertebrae located at the top of her neck.

"It's called a hangman's fracture; I could have ended up a paraplegic," she said.

"It makes me think just how lucky I am to still be here. I have five kids of my own; I have to be here for them."

While lucky to have survived the wreck, Ms Williamson's confidence in humanity was certainly rattled after later discovering that her handbag and mobile phone were stolen during the rescue.

"It's just a low act," she said.

 

Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton.
Sheree Williamson broke her neck in a car crash near Grafton. Rob Williams

Now released from hospital and recuperating with family in Queensland, Ms Williamson faces a long road to recovery, but she's thankful to still be here.

"I've joined the halo club," she said.

"I have to wear it for the next three months until my neck heals, but we're planning to have some fun with it, to make it a Christmas halo with fairy lights and tinsel."

Ms Williamson also wants to track down those who stopped to help her that morning.

"The emergency people, those who did stop to help me, I want to get in touch with them, so I can thank them myself," she said.

"Without them, I don't know what I would have done."

A GoFundMe page has also been established to help support her family while she recovers.

If you have any information about the people who stopped to help, Ms Williamson has asked them to please contact the Daily Examiner on 66430500 or email newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au and their details will be passed on to her.