Mother's hit and run fury
LITTLE Montana Atkins bares the scars of a cowardly driver’s reckless act on Northern Beaches roads.
The three-year-old still cannot understand what happened to her, yet every time she looks in the mirror and asks why, her distraught mother, Tina, puts on a brave face.
“My beautiful little girl may be scarred for life, we are just so lucky she is still with us,” Ms Atkins said.
“I’m extremely fortunate that all three of my daughters involved in the crash are alive today.
“I just want whoever was behind the wheel of the other vehicle to know what they have done, to see the result of their gutless actions.”
Montana underwent surgery in Coffs Harbour Hospital following the crash on February 26 at Woolgoolga.
Doctors hope plastic surgery will reduce the scarring, but Ms Atkins said some wounds would not heal so quickly.
The mother made a heart-wrenching plea for public information to bring the offending driver to justice.
The accident happened at the intersection of Newmans Rd and the Pacific Highway at 9.05pm.
Ms Atkins’ eldest daughter, Cassie Burnes, 22, had taken her two younger sisters, Chianne, 5, and Montana, for the night to give their mum a break.
The short trip from the family’s Woolgoolga home towards Coffs Harbour had life-changing consequences, even before the Mazda 121 crossed the highway.
Waiting at the intersection for a break in the traffic, the sedan was ploughed into by a silver 4WD, believed to be a Nissan Navara.
“I was just sitting at home when I got a text from Cassie saying ‘Mum ring me – emergency’,” Ms Atkins said.
“I rang her straight away and she said ‘I have been t-boned and Montana has blood all over her face’ – I just took off.
“When I got down the road I saw Cassie carrying Chianne under one arm and Montana under the other.
"The car was a mess and we now know that the centre pillar was the only thing that saved them.”
The driver of the 4WD fled the scene without bothering to check on the welfare of the two little girls, who were injured and still strapped in their baby seats.
“I want this driver to know what they did. I want to say to them don’t be so gutless and own up,” Ms Atkins said.
“I hope more than anything that someone in the community knows who did this and helps police with the investigation.”
A sense of outrage and concern has driven Ms Atkins to pass on details of the offender’s vehicle to local panel beaters.
“A woman who lives nearby and witnessed the accident said she just walked outside, to have a smoke I think, when she saw what she thought was a silver Nissan crash into the car impacting on the driver’s side,” Ms Atkins said.
“The skid marks are still there on the road, you can see the driver may have been drunk or affected by alcohol I should say.
“It seems he, and we believe it was a man, didn’t indicate, he just tried to round the corner from the middle lane at the last minute.”
Police are urging anyone with information relating to the accident to contact Coffs Harbour detectives.
The vehicle, thought to be a Nissan, may have been fitted with a nudge bar and spotlights.
It was last seen fleeing the accident travelling west on Newmans Rd.
Anonymous information on any known silver four-wheel-drives with damage to the front bumper and driver’s panels should be passed on to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.