Close call for familyFamily asleep as car demolishes bedroom wall
By DAWN COHEN
TELENESIA IONGI still feels the thunder of a car ploughing through the bedroom wall of the Ballina home where she and her family were sleeping.
The 1993 Charade smashed into her Burnet Street house on Sunday, narrowly missing Ms Iongi, her son and daughter-in-law, and her five grandchildren all sleeping in the front room. But for Ms Iongi the loud thump and the ensuing terror has not ceased.
"I am shaking," she said, yesterday.
"It is like it's still happening. It is a nightmare come true. I keep thinking we could all be gone. My beautiful grandchildren, my son, my son's wife."
Just after midnight the car, owned by L-plate teenager Jessica Harbisher, crashed into the fibro wall of the rented premises. A chest of drawers was dislodged, inflicting minor head injuries on Ziarla, 5, and Moiden, 6.
"I could see the car lights shining through the wall," said Sonny Filimoehala, Ms Iongi's son. "The engine was getting louder. I thought it could catch fire, so I quickly grabbed the kids and took them to the garage."
When the first grade Ballina rugby league player got to the vehicle the three occupants had fled.
Ms Harbisher, 18, who also lives in Burnet Street, said an acquaintance had borrowed the car, following a par- ty at Angels Beach.
"We were up the road at a friend's place when the guys came in all covered in blood," she said.
"We took them to Ballina hospital."
Ms Harbisher purchased the uninsured vehicle about six months ago.
"It is written off, and I am still paying it off," she said.
The three youths were not seriously injured.
Burnet Street resident Wayne Barnes said there was an ongoing problem with P-plate drivers driving dangerously in the street.
"It is well-known, here, but nothing gets done," he said.
Police are still investigating.
Meanwhile damaged fibro, lying in chunks outside Ms Ioni's home yesterday morning, could contain potentially lethal asbestos.
"We are waiting for reports and will take appropriate action," said the property manager, Christine Harvey, of Wal Murray Real Estate.