TANGLED WRECK: Emergency workers stand near the wreckage of the Kia Carnival van involved in Saturday’s fatal accident on the Pacific Highway at St Helena Hill. A Lismore family of four travelling in the vehicle were all taken to hospital.
TANGLED WRECK: Emergency workers stand near the wreckage of the Kia Carnival van involved in Saturday’s fatal accident on the Pacific Highway at St Helena Hill. A Lismore family of four travelling in the vehicle were all taken to hospital.

Woman dies in St Helena crash

FIVE people are dead and 16 injured in a horror weekend on Northern NSW roads.

The carnage began on Saturday morning with three fatal collisions – at Bangalow, Drake and Glen Innes – followed by another at Macksville on Saturday afternoon.

Traffic on the Pacific Highway near Bangalow was reduced to a crawl for almost three hours after a three-car collision about 11.10am.

A 54-year-old woman, from Upper Coomera in Queensland, died when her south-bound Toyota Camry station wagon crossed on to the wrong side of the road at the notorious St Helena black spot.

She collided with a north-bound Kia Carnival van with four Lismore people onboard and a car towing a caravan about 200 north of Coolamon Scenic Drive.

The 42-year-old female driver of the van was airlifted to Lismore Base Hospital by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter in a serious condition suffering abdominal and chest injuries.

Her 72-year-old husband was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital, also with serious abdominal and chest injuries, and their two children aged nine and seven months were taken to the Tweed Heads Hospital paediatric unit with minor injuries.

A Penrith couple in their 60s were transported to Byron Bay Hospital with minor injuries after their sedan and car- avan collided with the Kia.

It is believed the couple were on holidays and headed for Darwin.

The driver told emergency service workers he hit the brakes, but could not pull up in time.

Tweed-Byron Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Greg Carey, implored drivers to slow down, saying there was no room for error on that section of the highway.

Locals have been calling on the Roads and Traffic Authority to extend the 60km/h zone further uphill to Coolamon Scenic Drive.

Ambulances attended the crash scene from Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Tweed Heads.

The Ballina Crash Investigation Unit is investigating and will prepare a report for the Coroner.

NSW Fire Brigade duty commander Don Pescud attended with two units to assist the Brunswick Valley Volunteer Rescue Association and clear the debris, in conjunction with two units from the Rural Fire Service.

Following long delays, northbound traffic was diverted along Coolamon Scenic Drive, but heavy vehicles had to wait until about 2pm for the highway to be reopened. Southbound traffic was let through intermittently on the highway’s southbound breakdown lane.

Earlier on Saturday, about 8.25am, one man died and five were injured when their eastbound Toyota Tarago van failed to negotiated a bend on the Bruxner Highway at Drake, near Casino, veering off the road and rolling several times.

The injured were all transported to the Lismore Base Hospital suffering various injuries, including a severed finger, neck and chest injuries and one with spinal injuries.

Traffic on the Bruxner Highway was reduced to one lane for most of the day.

In other motor vehicle crashes, two people died and five were injured when a Holden Commodore sedan and a B-double truck collided at Glen Innes on the New England Highway.

Meanwhile, a young trail bike rider in his late teens or early 20s was killed when he collided head-on with a four-wheel-drive station wagon at Eungai Rail, near Macksville.

The driver of the four-wheel-drive was uninjured.

Police will prepare separate reports on each fatal accident for the Coroner.



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