A tow truck driver prepares to remove the damaged vehicle of an 83-year-old driver who ran into a pedestrian near Wollongbar.
A tow truck driver prepares to remove the damaged vehicle of an 83-year-old driver who ran into a pedestrian near Wollongbar. The Northern Star

Elderly driver caught up in police chase

AN ELDERLY man led police on a 10km pursuit only hours after he ran into a pedestrian on the Bruxner Highway yesterday.

The pedestrian was rushed to hospital suffering head injuries after the 83-year-old man's white station wagon hit him about 9.10am as he was crossing the road near the BP service station at Wollongbar.

The elderly driver was not charged over the accident yesterday, and police gave no indication of where fault for the incident lay.

At the time, the driver told The Northern Star he had not seen the pedestrian, who was wearing dark clothes and standing in the shadows when the accident happened.

"I'm sorry I hit the bloke," the man said. "I'm just glad he's not dead."

The victim was taken to Lismore Base Hospital, where cat scans and X-rays were used to assess the extent of his injuries.

High-profile GP Dr Sue Page was one of the first people on the scene and said the driver was not physically injured, but shaken by the accident.

She said the man who had been hit had received a 'decent knock on the head' which was bleeding and would need a full assessment when he arrived at hospital.

The injured pedestrian was still undergoing treatment in hospital, but was in a stable condition last night.

Dr Page praised the response from the ambulance officers who she assisted in lifting the injured man on to a spine board.

"The ambulance guys have been absolutely brilliant. Not only did they look after the scene in terms of attending to the injury, they also took responsibility for traffic diversion and making the area safe," she said.

The injured man was working as an excavator driver in Converys Lane, according to workmate Lyle Outerbridge, and had gone to get something for his morning tea when he was hit by the car.

However, just hours after the accident, the elderly driver was chased by police along the same road.

Police said they saw the man's car weaving within its lane and crossing over the shoulder several times. They pursued the driver for about 10 kilometres from Alstonville to Wollongbar, before a truck driver pitched in to help by pulling in front of the station wagon.

Police then approached the driver. An ambulance was called and the man appeared to be okay.

Police issued several infringement notices and the car was given a red defect label for its broken windscreen, which meant it had to be towed away.

The area where the pedestrian was hit an 80km/h zone in January, 2006, a year after Wollongbar resident Leila Packham was killed outside her home.

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