Kris Hoggan, Rondah Hoggan and Jaymi Bailey want the RTA to fix the road outside the Ballina Gardens Caravan Park.
Kris Hoggan, Rondah Hoggan and Jaymi Bailey want the RTA to fix the road outside the Ballina Gardens Caravan Park. Brenden Allen

Family's promise after horror crash

STANDING beside his grandmother's hospital bed, Kris Hoggan held his Nan's hand and made a promise.

He would do all he could to ensure authorities fixed the section of Pacific Highway at North Ballina that left 80-year-old Marie Hoggan in hospital with broken bones in her neck, back, wrist and ribs.

It was the second time in a year Ms Hoggan had been hit from behind by another vehicle while trying to turn into the Ballina Gardens Caravan Park, where she lives.

Kris and his family are now calling for the Roads and Traffic Authority to install a merging lane to make it safer for drivers entering the park.

At the site of the accident yesterday, it was clear the Hoggan family had the support of the 30 or so park residents who had turned up to meet them.

"It's a bloody dangerous spot and I promised Nan we'd do something about it," Kris, of Caniaba, said.

"The hospital has said her injuries are so bad she only has about a 20 per cent chance of surviving the next few months.

"Obviously she's down about it, but considering the circumstances her spirits are relatively high - she just wants something done so this doesn't happen to anyone else."

Ms Hoggan was driving her car north on the Pacific Highway about 12pm last Friday when the accident happened.

She had stopped on the highway, waiting to turn right into the park, when her car was hit from behind by a B-double truck.

Her car was pushed to the other side of the road, before being hit by another car travelling south.

Ms Hoggan suffered a broken neck, three broken vertebrae, broken ribs and a broken wrist. She also has collapsed lungs and internal bleeding and yesterday afternoon was in intensive care at a Gold Coast hospital.

Police were yesterday unable to provide The Northern Star with a history of accidents at the site. However, Ballina Gardens Caravan Park managers Campbell and Lynette Waugh said there was an accident outside the park at least once a year.

"They range from just a bit of a bang to a few very serious ones, where people have ended up in hospital," Mr Waugh said.

"We have 110 sites here, with over 100 residents coming and going, and cars speed along this part of the highway.

"It's just frightening, something has got to be done."

A staff member at the park, Greg Kearney, said he had been yelled at by drivers when slowing down to enter the park.

"They abuse you and swear at you out the window when you slow down," Mr Kearney said.

"I'm almost getting too scared to go out on the road here."

Resident Richard Molloy said vehicles travelling on the section of highway often went well above the 60km/h speed limit, as they were speeding up in anticipation of the 100km/h zone around the corner.

"It's just not good enough, something has got to be done here before someone is killed," he said.

An RTA spokesperson said crash data - which records crashes resulting in a tow-away, injury or fatality - showed there had been one reported crash at this site in the past five years.

However, the RTA would liaise with the caravan park owners and inspect the site to determine whether safety improvements were required to improve access into the caravan park, the spokesperson said.


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