News

Ride to Splendour costs couple $10 and a trip to hospital

CLOSE CALL: Jordan Martin, 22, and Laura McMillan, 19, of Lismore, are still in shock after they were involved in a car accident on their way to Splendour in the Grass. The illegal taxi they were travelling in crashed on the Pacific Highway.
CLOSE CALL: Jordan Martin, 22, and Laura McMillan, 19, of Lismore, are still in shock after they were involved in a car accident on their way to Splendour in the Grass. The illegal taxi they were travelling in crashed on the Pacific Highway. Marc Stapelberg

WHAT was planned as fun day rocking with friends at Splendour almost turned to tragedy for a Lismore couple when an illegal taxi driver crashed on the way to the festival.

Jordan Martin and Laura McMillan were waiting at the Belongil Fields bus stop near Byron, on Friday at 2.30pm, when a woman in a silver van pulled up and offered the couple, and five Irish backpackers, a lift to Splendour in the Grass.

For $10 a person, the offer seemed too good to refuse - until what happened next.

Just before the Yelgun interchange, while doing 110km/h on the highway, was where 22-year-old Mr Martin watched the crash unfold.

"There were two cars in front, a little red car and a Nissan Navara ute that were almost in a crash, and the lady driving the van wasn't looking at the time, she was talking to the passenger," Mr Martin said.

"I saw she wasn't braking and yelled out 'slow down, slow down', and she hit the brakes at the last second, locked up and we ended up sliding and crashing into the two cars."

"It was the heaviest impact we've felt," the couple said.

Instinct kicked in and the couple, who were still in shock, climbed out of the damaged van to see several of the backpackers bleeding from injuries sustained in the crash.

Within minutes, a mate of Mr Martin's who was travelling to Splendour picked the couple up and they rendezvoused with some other friends who took them to Mullumbimby hospital to be examined.

"I saw a mate go past and I yelled 'get me outta here' and he stopped."

After being given the all clear by the hospital, the couple stayed at a friends at Byron Bay on Friday night, and while 20-year-old Ms McMillan was x-rayed at the Byron hospital on Saturday, Mr Martin reported the crash to police.

Still sporting bruises from their seatbelts, yesterday the couple said with the excitement of Splendour and the fact many others were catching private transport to the festival; they never considered the risks of riding in an illegal taxi.

"We were just getting a lift there and it could have happened to a Splendour bus," Ms McMillan said.

"It definitely was an eye opener, putting your life in someone's hands that you don't know," Mr Martin said.

NSW Taxi Council CEO Roy Wakelin-King said accredited vehicles required regular inspections and driver's regular assessments to ensure public safety.

"People using private vehicles without any authorisation are a risk to the public," Mr Wakelin-King said.

Topics:  splendour in the grass, taxis, transport




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

YOUR SAY: Automatic jail for assaults on police, paramedics

Emergency service workers need more protection.

It's a controversial suggestion, but could it work?

OPINION: Can’t stay away from work in digital age

Young woman checking her computer

Who works a 38-hour week these days?

Simply the best: Mitch’s pick of the best NRRRL players

Byron Bay front-rower Chris Coleman on the run against Northern United on Sunday. Coleman has been in good form at the Red Devils and the Northern Rivers representative team in recent weeks.

Seven names chosen after seven rounds of rugby league comp.

Latest deals and offers

Mr Beef 2016

At Casino RSM Club. Video by Susanna Freymark

Mr Beef contestants talk the talk

Mr Beef entrants George Clarke and Nathan Conroy, of England, with last years's Mr Beef Teate Jackson (front).  Photo Doug Eaton / Express Examiner

Dylan Hancok and Nick Taylor, of Casino, will battle it out for the Mr Beef Week...

Lismore real estate agent celebrates 100th birthday

LJ Hooker Lismore principal Paul Deegan is the third generation to operate the 100-year-old family business.

A Lismore real estate is celebrating 100 years in business.

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home