Coffs resident Chris O’Dell says he’s lucky to be alive after a near miss on the Pacific Highway roundabout, south of Coffs Harbour.
Coffs resident Chris O’Dell says he’s lucky to be alive after a near miss on the Pacific Highway roundabout, south of Coffs Harbour. Leigh Jensen

Too close to call

AS the rubber burned, the brakes squealed and 18-wheels flew into view, Chris O’Dell and his workmates braced themselves for an horrific impact with a semi-trailer.

The brakes on the ute they were travelling in had locked-up, and the vehicle come to a rest on the Pacific Highway roundabout at Englands Road and Stadium Drive.

However, a life-threatening crash was averted as the rig found just enough room to pass on the inside.

The early morning scrape was over in a few seconds but days later and the grave reality of how close they came continues to trouble the men.

“I didn’t really see my life flash before me or anything like that, it was over far too quickly but they are the only words I can think of to explain just how close we came,” Mr O’Dell said.

Still visibly shaken by the near miss, Chris said he doesn’t intend to criticise all truckies or the transport industry, just the offending driver.

“We work along Englands Road and everyday we hear at least one truck hitting the compression brakes as they near the roundabout.

“Early in the morning I’ve seen trucks travel in convoys of three, travelling well over 60km/h into the roundabout and demanding right away.

“I read in the paper someone saying they are sick of hearing truckies cop flak but all I can talk about is what happened to us that day.”

He said the danger is so great that most of his workmates only ever travel to work via Isles Drive.

This latest near miss follows a truck rollover on the roundabout on November 1.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser said that was the fifth accident in 20 years at the intersection, one of which proved fatal.



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