After the accident: Deb’s story

Accidents  happen, and they change lives. 

Deb from Yinnar is grateful her husband Brad is on the road to recovery 12 months after he was seriously injured in a collision, but she knows things will never be the way they were.

The mother of three, who did not wish to disclose her surname, described the family’s roller coaster ride of emotions since her husband’s accident.

Brad was riding home from work in Wonthaggi on his motorcycle on 5 August 2011 around dusk, and was coming through Churchill when he spotted a car at the Jeeralang Junction turnoff.

“He said the car stopped, but then pulled out in front of him,” Deb said, adding the driver of the car was a young local woman.

“I’m not angry anymore, but you go through phases.”

“I thought of visiting her; I feel like we have got some kind of bond…I want to have a conversation with her, and ask her why she pulled out when she did.

“Perhaps if she said she didn’t see, or her car lurched forward (I’d feel better if there was an explanation).

“Now to me, she is just the girl who made an error of judgment, who put my husband off the road.”

The evening of the accident, Deb said she was just about to set out looking for him as it was late, when a police member showed up at her door.

“I don’t know if this is true, but I was told before if one policeman shows up, don’t panic; if it’s a fatal accident, there will be two,” she said.

“It gave me some comfort; I knew something was wrong but he was still alive.”

In a heartfelt expression of emotion on the anniversary of Brad’s accident, Deb said she posted a note addressed to the girl on her Facebook wall as a form of catharsis, but had received so many comments from friends encouraging her to contact The Express to provide people an insight into what happens to accident victims’ families “after the ambulance takes them away”.

In her note on Facebook, Deb described the feeling of pain watching her active 45 year-old husband lie infirm in the Alfred Hospital.

Brad was found to have multiple breaks sustained during impact with the car including to his hands and legs, as well as a head injury, an embolism to his lung, kidney damage and blood clots.

“It was one of the most traumatic things I’ve had to watch…a big strong man, my protector, father of my kids and love of my life, with the look of fear in his eyes that will haunt me forever,” she wrote.

She told The Express Brad’s being in the hospital meant months of rehabilitation for him, and many hours of commuting for her as she juggled work in a nursing home and looked after their three children, whose ages ranged between eight and 14 years at the time.

“He needs more surgery; his bones have knitted and he is able to walk, but his knee is not right,” Deb said.

“We estimate if his knee is fixed in the next few months, he’ll be all right in six months time, 18 months after the accident.

“It’s been very hard for everybody…he had to miss out on milestones like our son’s last school concert in which he had a starring role, and Father’s Day last year because we were all so run down and had colds, and the kids had to give up any after-school life.”

Deb said in the months after the accident, she had hoped the girl would acknowledge what happened.

“An anonymous note, a message through somebody, (it could be) anything to acknowledge we exist,” she said, adding it would help her husband through his recovery and provide closure to the family.

“If you just got something from them, it would help you feel less like a statistic,” Deb said, adding she bore no grudge against the driver of the car.

“There will always be more accidents, but if this makes one person think, that would be good.”