‘My son was lying in a pool of blood’

THE dad at the centre of a council push to stop caravans, trailers and boats from parking on Gold Coast streets hopes the controversial crackdown will save another family from a living hell.

Darren Cooper's son Matthew is still on the mend after he was struck by a car and found "lying in a pool of blood" on Australia Day 2015.

A driver allegedly failed to spot the boy, then aged 13, because a parked 7.5m-long box trailer obstructed the view.

Caravans, trailers and boats are often seen scattered along the side of Gold Coast roads. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Caravans, trailers and boats are often seen scattered along the side of Gold Coast roads. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Deputy Mayor Donna Gates has led a council push to stop caravans, trailers and boats being parked on public streets for extended periods of time.

Cr Gates told a transport committee meeting her primary concern was safety, rather than amenity, and she raised the incident involving Mr Cooper's son.

Mr Cooper, a business consultant and pastor, was emotional when he recounted the moment he found his son lying on scorching bitumen at Upper Coomera four years ago, "bleeding from his eyes".

"As he rode down to the bottom of the road a car was coming around the trailer on the wrong side of the road and he was hit," he said.

"I got a phone call from one of our neighbours saying 'come quick, your son has been hit by a car'. There at the bottom of the road was my little boy lying on the road with one of our neighbours, who put himself underneath him so he wasn't burning on the road.

"My son was lying in a pool of blood screaming. I get a bit emotional talking about it.

"He was bleeding from his eyes, his nose. He was in a lot of pain."

 

A quick cruise through Burleigh Heads and Miami revealed many streets packed with parked caravans, trailers and boats. Picture: Tertius Pickard
A quick cruise through Burleigh Heads and Miami revealed many streets packed with parked caravans, trailers and boats. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Matthew was rushed to Gold Coast Hospital and transferred to Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, where he remained for eight days.

His skull, eye socket and wrist were fractured and he suffered bleeding on the brain and burns from the hot road.

Mr Cooper said his family wais still affected by the crash, which left his son with ongoing and severe headaches, among other issues.

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He worries another family will be left in the same position should a similar incident occur.

"What I've noticed is the roads have become narrower and narrower and there's less planning and less parking as these estates are built.

"Some of the houses now are so small people are using the garages as a recreation room.

Laws were changed by the State Government after a decision by the Ombudsman which allowed vehicles under 7.5m to be parked on local streets. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Laws were changed by the State Government after a decision by the Ombudsman which allowed vehicles under 7.5m to be parked on local streets. Picture: Tertius Pickard

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"You end up with the cars on the driveway or road. Where do people park their trailer or boat, that sort of thing, when they have one?"

Mr Cooper believes some streets are so jam-packed with caravans, trailers and boats that emergency services would "have a major problem" attending incidents.

"This isn't a sob story. This is something my family has dealt with - but I don't want to see another kid hit by a car".



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