LEFT TO DIE
A SICKENING thud alerted residents of Ballina Road, Lismore Heights, to a tragedy unfolding on their doorsteps in the early hours of yesterday morning.
A 24-year-old Goonellabah man lay dying on the roadside after been struck by a Holden Commodore sedan. The driver of the car allegedly sped from the scene without stopping to assist the badly injured man.
Police were continuing to piece together the case yesterday, but witnesses who did not wish to be named told The Northern Star the dead man had been a passenger in the car which hit him.
It is believed the man may have got out of the vehicle on the Lismore-bound side of Ballina Road to pick a fight with a group of youths walking along the road.
It is believed he may have been struck by the car after it had rounded the Rotary Drive roundabout and was heading back in the direction it had come.
The incident occurred at about 1.20am on the corner of Ballina Road and High Street.
Ballina Road resident Simon Clare said he was about to go to bed when he heard a group of young people 'yahooing' with their shirts off near the top of his driveway.
Mr Clare, a student at Southern Cross University, said he went outside because he was worried about his car. He saw the group of teenagers run off.
It was only after a four wheel drive pulled up a man got out and ran to assist the man lying on the road that Mr Clare realised what had happened.
As he crossed the road to help Mr Clare he saw the man's shoes lying about eight metres from him, such was the force of the impact.
"It was the worst thing I have ever seen. He was lying on his side with his face pressed against the gutter. I could tell he was taking his last breaths, he was that messed up. It was surreal," Mr Clare said.
"I just can't believe someone would leave this guy on the road. Even just calling an ambulance could be the difference between someone living and dying."
Mr Clare's housemate, Travis Kenny-Levick, also a student at Southern Cross University, said he heard one of the group on their driveway making smart comments, and another man taunting for a fight.
He then heard the sounds of a fight, followed by the loud thud as the man was struck by the car.
Ballina Road resident Val Whicker said she saw someone running across the road.
"My impression was he was 'playing chicken' with the cars. I don't recall hearing any screeching tyres, but we heard a big thud. It was a horrible sound," Mrs Whicker said.
At 7am yesterday, police arrested a 29-year-old Goonellabah man.
He was charged with dangerous driving causing death, refused bail and will appear in Lismore Local Court today.
Detectives are continuing their inquiries and have renewed their appeal for public assistance. In particular, they' want to speak with a man who contacted Crime Stoppers on Sunday. morning.