Ellangowan couple Geoff and Julie-Ann Silvey, with their badly damaged car.
Ellangowan couple Geoff and Julie-Ann Silvey, with their badly damaged car.

Lucky escape as tree crushes car

By ZOE SATHERLEY

JULIE-ANN Silvey had a premonition the gum tree would crush her car ? and she was right.

But what Mrs Silvey, of Ellangowan, had not banked on was that it would be a human hand, rather than Mother Nature, that would set events in motion.

She and her family ? husband Geoff, and two young daughters, Natasha, 7, and Amy-Lee, 5 ? ended up shocked and bruised in Casino Hospital after the tree branch crashed on the bonnet of their car.

The branch also smashed the windscreen and then bounced over the roof.

The incident happened last Friday, as a council employee was sawing through the dangerous over-hanging branch of a large gum tree on Ellangowan Road.

A 'stop-go' man, unaware the branch was mid-way through being sawn, waved the family car through. "There was the sound of a loud crack and then a huge bang as the tree landed on the car," Mrs Silvey said.

"It was terrifying. The children were screaming.

"Both got burns from their seatbelts and bruises from being thrown against the sides of the car as it rocked with the impact.

"The passenger window was open and my husband had his arm on the window sill and it got badly bruised and cut. I hurt my back."

Mrs Silvey said the car, a 2001 Holden Commodore sedan, was a write-off.

She is taking legal advice to see if anyone was negligent in any way.

However, Paul Radnidge, Richmond Valley Council manager of works, said that council's tree removal procedures had been followed.

He said he regretted the incident and council had offered to assist the family in any way possible.

Mr Radnidge said there would be an investigation into the accident and standard procedures would be reviewed in the light of the findings.

"It seems there was a misunderstanding (between the man sawing the tree and the stop-go man) on whether the road was clear for traffic," he said.

The family were on their way to do back-toschool shopping in Casino when the accident happened.

It was the same stretch of road they had travelled with trepidation for the past three weeks, after a large gum tree crashed into an adjoining tree during a wild storm.



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