Injured driver is walking

CLARENCE Valley father-of-three Nathan Beel is recovering in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital after suffering multiple injuries in a collision between two vehicles at Leeville, near Casino, on Monday.

The 25-year-old underwent 10 hours of surgery on his back on Wednesday night and yesterday called his mother Sharon Beel to say he had walked 40m unassisted.

"I'm ecstatic that he's walking, but he's a strong-willed boy and he was never one to sit still.

"If anyone can do it, he can," Mrs Beel said.

Nathan has only recently been recruited by the Lower River Magpies, but had played junior league as a boy, and more recently has been involved in rodeo.

He became engaged to his partner only a few months ago and plans to get married in November.

"It's a hard time for his family. He has three young children aged four, two, and four months, but his fiancee has been by his side the whole time, she's been so strong," she said.

Mrs Beel said Nathan had sustained a number of other injuries, including a ruptured bowel, but said he owed his life to the two men who pulled him from the vehicle.

"Those men are downright heroes and I'd like to thank them personally. We just want them to know that the family is so appreciative," she said.

Sharon Beel also wanted to thank everyone who had called with their good wishes over the past few days, saying she had received hundreds of calls.

Nathan was travelling to work at Woodenbong from his home in Brushgrove on Monday when the accident occurred on the Summerland Way, 5km south of Casino, when his Nissan Navara collided head-on with a Toyota Hilux.

The two men in the Hilux, Robert Needham and Warren Endres, both from Casino, died.

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