Bruce Hwy crash survivors speak out on driver fatigue
CRASH survivors Emma and her son Julian Tailford hope drivers will take an important lesson from their "miracle" escape.
They have spoken out after learning police did not intend to charge the man who drifted across a 110kmh-section of the Bruce Highway into their lane in November last year.
Their journey from their Maroochydore home to see family in Bundaberg had only just started when a four-wheel-drive crashed into them after they merged onto the northbound lanes at the Nambour Connection Road junction.
Mr Tailford was driving and his mother was in the front passenger seat of their Mazda sedan.
"I just saw out of the corner of my eye that four-wheel-drive coming across the table drain," Mr Tailford, 23, said.
"As soon as he came onto our side of the road he was swaying left to right.
"It wasn't until the last second I thought he was going to hit us."
He said he braced for impact.
His mother said she saw the four-wheel-drive as it was coming out of the table drain.
"The next thing there was a loud crash as the four-wheel-drive landed on our bonnet," Mrs Tailford said.
"I screamed out 'Jesus, Jesus, help us'."
There was a second impact as another car crashed into them from behind.
Mrs Tailford was trapped by the dashboard against her legs.
Her son was unconscious but soon awoke.
"Mum was a little bit in hysterics - she was praying," Mr Tailford said.
He recalled trying to comfort his mother.
A burning smell from the engine also concerned him.
"It kind of felt like the car was going to blow up.
"That was scary."
It did not ignite but Mr Tailford's injuries frightened his mother.
"I could see that his face was full of blood," Mrs Tailford said.
"He said 'I'm okay Mum' and then he passed out."
She said a paramedic comforted her before she and her son we cut free from the wreckage.
"He was very good."
They were taken to hospital, where Mrs Tailford was treated for 12 broken ribs as well as hip and leg injuries.
Mr Tailford's left arm was broken in two places and his left elbow dislocated.
Broken glass had caused cuts and grazes to his forehead and he also had cuts to the back of his head.
"They have only just healed," Mr Tailford said.
He has made a good recovery and can nearly fully straighten his arm.
Confirmation from police earlier this month that they did not intend to charge the man who caused the crash brought mixed emotions.
The man had proven he sought treatment in the weeks before the crash for a medical condition and had continued with that treatment since.
Investigations also indicated he had been trying to drive from Rockhampton to his home south of Brisbane when the crash happened.
"Me and my mum - we didn't really harbour ill-feelings to him," Mr Tailford said.
"If I could see that guy again I'd probably want to say hi and see how he is going.
"I think he knows what he did was wrong so there is no point digging into him."
But he was disappointed the man had tried to drive such a long distance when he knew something wasn't quite right with his health.
"I'm a little bit angry with him for that.
"Have a bit of common sense next time."
Mrs Tailford described the survival as a miracle.
"First of all I thank God because he protected us," Mrs Tailford said.
She also said urged drivers to rest when they felt tired.
"When you don't have enough sleep - don't try to drive for hours."