FOR almost an hour yesterday morning Glenyce Spencer watched helplessly as emergency service crews tried to free her husband, Ron, from their mangled ute.
The long-term Alstonville residents had turned from Parkland Drive on to Ballina Road at about 8.15am.
“I told him that he wasn’t going to make it, but he just didn’t listen,” Mrs Spencer said.
The driver’s side of their Toyota Hilux utility was hit by a prime mover, which was travelling at about 50km/h without its trailer.
Mr Spencer was trapped in the ute.
Nearby residents reported hearing a loud bang.
“It must have hit pretty hard,” one man said.
“When you think about it, it’s bloody lucky that no one was killed. A truck hitting the driver’s side like that is pretty serious.”
A spokeswoman from North Coast Area Health Service said Mr Spencer was in a serious condition.
Paramedics treated him for spinal injuries, multiple facial fractures, chest injuries and a head injury.
Mrs Spencer received minor injuries to her legs.
“I’m fine, which is lucky, but Ron, he was jammed in the ute,” she said.
“I was a bit worried about him, but they got him out and he’s in hospital now.”
Yesterday’s crash has highlighted the need for the Alstonville bypass to be finished as quickly as possible.
The bypass is expected to halve the number of vehicles passing through the village, and locals say it can’t open soon enough.
“That junction is particularly dangerous,” one woman said.
“When it’s busy in the mornings it’s really hard to get around, so people just take a chance and go for it.
“I hoped the bypass would be finished before something like this happened.”
Ballina duty officer, Inspector Paul Fredericks, agreed the bypass would help.
“There won’t be any heavy vehicles in town except for those actually doing deliveries,” he said.
“It will make a huge difference to the traffic situation.”
Ballina Shire Council’s civil services group manager, John Truman, said there had been five reported accidents at the intersection since 2002.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.