Left for dead: street racers flee crash scene
CAR thieves left three elderly Ingham residents for dead after running them off the road north of Townsville yesterday.
Two cars, one confirmed to be stolen, were understood to be racing south on the Bruce Highway about 5.45am when the crash happened 1km north of the Frosty Mango.
While attempting to overtake a semi-trailer, the stolen Mitsubishi swerved to avoid oncoming traffic and hit the back of the Ingham residents' Toyota SUV.
The Toyota was pushed across the road and down an embankment, rolling several times and coming to rest on its roof.
The Mitsubishi careered off the left side of the highway and rolled, coming to rest on its driver's side.
The second racer came back and picked up the occupants of the stolen car and fled, and was later seen travelling at high speed towards Townsville.
The male Toyota driver, 72, another man, 70 and a woman, 69, had to be freed from the overturned car before being rushed to Townsville Hospital.
An ambulance spokesman said the woman suffered serious head and internal injuries but was in a stable condition last night.
The two men's injuries were not revealed but they were in a stable condition last night.
It is understood the three were travelling to Townsville for a medical appointment.
The highway was blocked for several hours and reopened about 9.45am.
Forensic Crash Unit Acting Sergeant Rick North said the car thieves were still at large.
It is not known if both cars involved in the race were stolen.
"It appears they may have been racing," he said.
"They didn't even check on them (the other car), just left them for dead."
Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said news of the crash had been upsetting for the Ingham community.
"It's a disaster and an avoidable disaster if this criminal activity hadn't occurred," he said.
"It's a criminal act which has now caused so much distress to those involved and their families.
"We hope the culprits are caught and brought to justice but in the meantime our thoughts and prayers are with the people involved and their families."
Greg Pellegrini, a friend of the victims, said the injured people were a husband and wife driving another family member to a medical appointment.
"I can't tell you how upset I am about my friends - I cannot handle it," he said.
"That could have been my daughter on the road."
Katter's Australian Party Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the State Government had to do more to combat crime in regional Queensland.
"We have seen three people from Ingham rushed to hospital after their car was hit by an allegedly stolen vehicle," he said.
"I don't want to see a death occur before action is taken."
Acting Sgt North urged anyone who may have witnessed the crash to come forward.
If you have information about the crash, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.