News

Tragedy just metres away

Krystal Gray with her girls Claudia, 3, Josslyn, 5, and Olivia Brown, 6, next to the fence which was destroyed by a truck on the Pacific Hwy in June 2010.
Krystal Gray with her girls Claudia, 3, Josslyn, 5, and Olivia Brown, 6, next to the fence which was destroyed by a truck on the Pacific Hwy in June 2010. Adam Hourigan

WHAT sort of tragedy would it take for the powers that be to fast-track the duplication of the Pacific Hwy?

It is almost two years since Olivia Brown, 6, and her sisters Claudia, 3, and Josslyn, 2, were metres from being victims of a stretch of road that risks being ignored again after the NSW Government failed this week to match the Federal Government's $3.56 billion commitment to upgrade.

Her three baby girls asleep in the next room, Krystal Gray thought a bunk bed had fallen over when she was awoken by a thunderous thud about 4.30am on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

"I looked outside and there was a truck sitting outside my window ... it scared the crap out of me," she recalled this week as part of The Examiner's Fix the Pacific Hwy - No Excuses campaign.

"There were sparks flying everywhere from the wires that had all been torn down."

Ms Gray remembers it being particularly cold on the morning a northbound semi-trailer missed the first left-hand bend into Ulmarra, crossed the highway and rolled onto its side just metres from her front door.

The truck took out the family's side fence and its load of recycled plastic was strewn for hundreds of metres.

"He rolled over onto his side; that's the only thing that saved him from coming into my house," Ms Gray said.

"The kids woke up petrified and screaming; they still have nightmares about it. Some nights they wake up dreaming about a truck screaming around the corner."

"But the trucks just kept on coming; there were live powerlines on the road and they just didn't stop."

"I thought the man would have been dead but he only had a few scratches on his hand," she said. "He fell asleep, but I don't think he was charged with anything."

Ms Gray said she had lived in Ulmarra all her life but had only become fearful of the highway since her rude awakening two years ago.

"My dad bought this house in 1985 and I remember people saying then that Ulmarra would be bypassed within 10 years; that's why he bought the house.

"That was six years after the Cowper crash. I remember that Cowper was supposed to be the first section upgraded and it still hasn't been done where the crash happened.

"Now it's just getting worse; there are more trucks driving to tighter timelines."

Ms Gray said she'd love to see speed cameras on both sides of the road at Ulmarra in the short term but called for an Ulmarra bypass urgently, considering the high number of crashes in the small village.

"In some ways we want to sell the house and move, but we love it here. We just want the highway diverted as they've been promising for so long," she said.

An 11-year-old boy was killed in his sleep by a wayward truck at Urunga in January and the ensuing campaign led to Urunga being lifted in priority for an upgrade.

While the Feds have agreed to match NSW's $1.5 billion commitment - the remaining $2 billion of Commonwealth money may very well go to other projects across the nation unless matching funding can be found.

Should NSW borrow the funds? Should the Commonwealth increase it's funding? Should state money be diverted from other projects?

Topics:  family, pacific highway, tragedy, truck




Team building leads to award win

ETC business relationship advisor Molly McCutcheon, owner and licensee of the Crown Hotel Motel Gordon Masters and local mum Belinda Bates.

Local hotel claims monthly prize

Material Journey looming locally

Jade Dewi performs at Material Journeys.

Bright, bold and beautiful materials from across the world

Norco boss appointed chair of farm co-op pilot program

Agriculture farming generic Photo Contributed

Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program kicks off

Latest deals and offers

Falls Festival tickets go on sale today

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

We've got all the details you need to make sure you don't miss out

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m