Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Truckie's Rod Miracle; Woman Impaled While Driving Thanks the Crew That Saved Her Life

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Truckie's Rod Miracle; Woman Impaled While Driving Thanks the Crew That Saved Her Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Tobi Loftus Tobi.Loftus@thechronicle.com.au

FEBRUARY 25 was the day Margaret Woolley got a second chance at life.

The 60-year-old truck driver was driving along the Warrego Highway near Oakey when four steel rods fell off a truck heading in the opposite direction.

"I thought it was sorghum stalks coming at me," she said.

"I saw four coming, three fell away. By the time the fourth got too close to me, I realised then that it was what I thought was half inch square tubing, but it was solid steel."

Travelling at more than 100 kilometres an hour, the steel rod smashed through Margaret's windscreen and impaled her at her sternum, just centimetres from her heart.

"I knew I had to do something," Margaret said.

"My right hand was stuck on the steering wheel, I was paralysed. I couldn't turn off cruise control, I couldn't reach the pedals as I was pushed back into the seat.

"I just had to really study things and work out how I was going to deal with the situation and get the truck off the road without killing anyone."

Margaret drove several hundred metres to a stopping bay, stopped the truck with the handbrake and hoped someone would notice what had happened.

Thankfully, two bystanders did and called emergency services.

At the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight base, critical care doctor Jacob Crosdale and paramedic Simon Cadzow received the call.

The helicopter was offline at the time, so the two emergency workers had to race to the scene via the road while pilots Scott Nicholls and Murray Gladwin prepared the chopper.

Fire crews on scene made a large stand so the two LifeFlight crew members could access Margaret.

"It was one of those days where the whole system worked right. If every bit of that didn't come together, Margaret wouldn't have survived," Dr Crosdale said.

"She was barely conscious and had two things on her mind, making sure we turned the fridge off so her truck battery didn't run flat, and that she thought this was the last breath she was going to take. …

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