The crumbled remains of the hatchback in front of the bus.
The crumbled remains of the hatchback in front of the bus. DOUG EATON

Man dies in bus, car crash

A MAN is dead after a bus and a small hatchback car collided in the hectic mid-afternoon traffic along the Pacific Highway at Ballina yesterday afternoon.

The Ballina Buslines bus, carrying six passengers in addition to the driver, screeched to a halt after it collided with the green Holden Barina on the driver's side just before 3pm.

The car's elderly driver, believed to be from Yamba, had been turning right out of Teven Road and died almost immediately after impact.

A female passenger from the bus, which was travelling to Ballina, was taken to hospital.

Another bus passenger, Nancy Shaw, 63, was still visibly shaken as she watched police and emergency service personnel work to remove the driver's body from the hatchback.

Ms Shaw had been returning to her home town of Ballina from Lismore Base Hospital, where she had been visiting a male friend with whom she had been involved in a motorcycle accident near Kyogle just 24 hours previously.

In yesterday's accident, Ms Shaw said she heard the bus driver slam on the brakes after the hatchback drove out onto the highway in front of them.

“I just couldn't believe my eyes,” Ms Shaw said.

“I heard the big smash and all I could see was the car coming from Teven Road,” she said.

“I'm still in shock from yesterday. My boyfriend's in hospital.

“I was on (the motorcycle) when it happened just yesterday. I got taken home by the ambulance.

“I'm shook up about it now. I'm feeling a few pains, but I don't want to go to the hospital.”

“I haven't travelled on a bus for ages.”

Fellow bus passenger and Ballina resident, Glen Heath, said he watched on as the driver of the car, aged 84, passed away.

“I was the second one out of the bus,” Mr Heath said.

“I checked his pulse and he had a faint pulse.

“There was blood dripping down and he was pretty banged up.

“I don't feel real well about it. I feel ill.”

Ballina police Inspector Paul Fredericks said the Ballina Crash Investigation Unit was investigating the incident, which left afternoon traffic banked up along the highway to the south and north.

“The man in the green car has been in the process of making a right turn out of Teven Road,” he said.

“The bus has collided with the side of the vehicle, pushing him some 20 metres up the highway.”

Police, ambulance and State Emergency Service personnel attended the scene.

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