June 28, 2019
Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien and his chief of staff Simon Kelly were lucky to escape injury when their vehicle was rear-ended in a high-speed highway crash on Thursday morning.
The incident occurred on the Sunshine Motorway at Coolum about 10:40am.
Mr Kelly told southburnett.com.au he was driving and Mr O’Brien was on the phone in the passenger seat when the traffic on the motorway slowed to a standstill because of another crash ahead.
“I looked in the rearview mirror and I saw this car bearing down on us,” Mr Kelly said.
The vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, crashed into the rear of the pair’s Holden sedan.
“It hit us and we spun around,” Mr Kelly said.
The Cherokee ended up in the southbound lanes but fortunately was not struck by any other traffic.
The force of the collision pushed the backseat of the Holden into the front compartment.
“The car is a write-off,” Mr Kelly said.
All three people involved in the crash – Mr O’Brien, Mr Kelly and the female driver of the Cherokee – were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure but were later released.
Mr Kelly said it was fortunate there was some space ahead of their vehicle when the crash occurred, otherwise they would have been sandwiched and it could have been much more serious.
“We were all very lucky,” he said.
A police spokesperson confirmed that investigations into the cause of the crash were continuing.
Mr O’Brien said that with school holidays starting next week, the incident was a reminder for everyone to stay safe on the roads.
“Don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, don’t drive fatigued, and avoid distractions,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The impact forced our car off the road and the other vehicle came to a halt in the southbound lane and it’s just so lucky it didn’t collide with oncoming traffic,” Mr O’Brien said.
Ambulances, police and fire engines as well as a medical team from the Sunshine Coast Airport were on the scene within minutes.
“I want to thank the emergency services and everyone who stopped to help. The ambos, police, firies and towies did a great job in securing the scene, providing assistance and clearing the road of debris from the collision.
“Donna Stevens, a nurse from Noosa’s Animal Emergency Centre, was one of the first on the scene and was particularly helpful in providing reassurance to all those involved in the crash.
“The fact that we were all able to walk away from our vehicles after such a high-speed impact demonstrates how far car manufacturers have come in building safer vehicles.
“Car crashes can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime but they are all avoidable. It’s important that everyone remains alert to other road users and always drives to the conditions.”