Crash tears family apart



This is the third day of The Observer's Road Safety series, sparked by Queensland's high road toll and the discussion of safety measures for young drivers.

Today the series looks at the trauma accidents cause and the effect they have on an entire family's lives, in this case the Schouten family.

LYNNE and Gerry Schouten's lives are only just getting back on track after a car crash two years ago tore their family apart.

While nobody was more affected than their daughter Naomi who is now an incomplete paraplegic, Lynne said the crash had consequences for the whole family.

When the accident happened on April 28, 2003 Naomi was flown to Brisbane while Gerry who was driving, was treated at Gladstone Hospital.

'I was torn,' Lynne said.'It just split the family and then when I spent four months in Brisbane the family was separated.'

Gerry was in a difficult position as the driver of the car, a position where some involved in car crashes suffer tremendous guilt.

In Gerry's case, the other car passed into their line of traffic and he felt his many years of experience gave himself and Naomi a better chance.

"I felt that I saved our lives rather than causing the accident,' Gerry said.

'These life experiences are important, it makes you more cautious on the road.'



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