RUNAWAY CAR DRAGS WOMAN
By ZOE SATHERLEY
THE LIFE of Goonellabah woman Vanessa Thurgate hangs by a thread after she was run over by her own car early yesterday morning.
Vanessa, 34, was rushed to Lismore Base Hospital with massive internal injuries.
She was later transferred to The Tweed Hospital because of a shortage of intensive care beds at Lismore.
Vanessa is in a critical condition on life support.
Shocked friends yesterday said hospital doctors had told them Vanessa's life was 'in the hands of God'.
The tragedy unfolded just after midnight when Vanessa, her partner of about 10 years, David James, and her girlfriend, Maryanne Jordan, of Lismore, had just finished a late-night barbecue.
Exact details of the incident were still unclear yesterday.
However, according to David's brother, Darryl James, of Goonellabah, the accident happened when Vanessa tried to stop the couple's car, a Mitsubishi Magna, from rolling down a steep driveway.
"David told me he was in the kitchen clearing up after the barbecue and Maryanne was across the road chatting with her ex-husband, Paul Jordan, when the accident happened," Darryl said.
"The car had a flat battery and they had earlier rolled it out of the garage to make room for the barbecue ? just like they had done many times before.
"After the barbecue Vanessa decided to try and roll it back into the garage herself.
"David thinks the car may have bumped against the low concrete lip of the garage threshold, causing it to start going backwards down the driveway.
"Vanessa obviously thought she could hold it, but somehow she must have tripped or been pushed over by the weight of the car.
"She was caught underneath by her foot and was dragged down the driveway and across the road. The car stopped on the gutter in front of a neighbour's house.
"The first thing David knew about it was hearing Vanessa scream. He raced outside to see the car sliding down the driveway, dragging Vanessa with it.
"He is absolutely devastated and in total shock. It is just an awful, awful situation."
Neighbour Vince Nicolia said he and his partner, Joy Blanch, were woken up by David's screams for help. "Joy immediately rang Triple 0 and I raced out to see if I could help," he said.
"Poor David was lying on his stomach under the car with Vanessa who was unconscious. He was holding her and crying out 'Vanessa, Vanessa, stay with me, I can't live without you'.