Mum's fury: 'Giant pothole put my son in hospital'
A FURIOUS mother is calling for Lismore City Council to fix its roads after her son and brother wound up in hospital when their car hit a "giant" pothole and slid out of control.
Just after 3pm on Monday, mother-of-three Bella Kelly received a phone call from her 27-year-old brother saying he and her 14-year-old son Isaac had been in a car accident.
"He told me that Isaac was lying on the side of Wyrallah Rd in a bad condition," Ms Kelly said.
"It was absolutely terrifying."
She said a "gigantic pothole" spanning more than a metre was the reason her brother had crashed.
"He was travelling along Wyrallah Rd towards Coraki and the car in front was doing about 50km in an 80 zone," she said.
"He overtook the car legally on broken lines and hit a giant pothole which sent the car sliding across the other side of the road into a fence and impacted the front passenger side where Isaac was sitting. The car went through the fence and the side air bag went off."
At this point, Ms Kelly said her brother, who wishes to remain unnamed, was only worried about Isaac's condition.
"He took Isaac son out of the car as he couldn't breathe properly and was in severe pain," she said.
"Thankfully an off-duty nurse and security guard stopped at the accident to help my son until the ambulance could arrive.
"I drove to Lismore Hospital to find the horrible sight of Isaac lying flat on a bed with a neck brace and pelvic brace on, with severe bruising."
After leaving the hospital at about 12.30am on Tuesday, Ms Kelly drove out to the scene to see the pothole for herself.
"I just burst into tears," she said.
"Isaac has been a little trooper even though he is still on "hospital watch" for internal bleeding and other injuries."
Ms Kelly said it was disappointing to see council's negligence to keep the roads of Lismore and surrounds safe.
"They need to do something, the roads are a death trap," she said.
"I want council to do what they are paid to do, and do their job properly the first time.
"I get that they have so many jobs but they need to prioritise the roads - not just going there with a machine and just bogging up the hole hoping to god it works - it's not good enough and it's so dangerous.
She said Lismore may as well be called Potville.
"The roads are so bad that there is more holes then road and the speed hasn't been adjusted to make it safe for us to travel on," she said.
"How many more people need to be injured before our roads get fixed to a safe standard to be able to drive on?"
Ms Kelly said her brother was an "absolute mess and heartbroken" about the accident.
"He no longer has a car as it is unrepairable," she said.
"I will be taking legal action.
"My other son just got his L's for his bike license and I'm proud of him but what happens if it was him on a Motorbike that had hit that pothole? The injuries would've been more significant and possibly loss of life.
"My son spent the night in hospital for observation. He has bruising and a sore body but with rest and care he will make a full recovery from an accident that could've been prevented."
Ms Kelly contacted Lismore City Council yesterday but was "devastated" to receive an automated response saying someone would contact her within 10 working days.
"I felt like nobody cared," she said.
A council spokeswoman confirmed Ms Kelly's complaint was lodged yesterday, investigated and filled.
"They could fill the hole but not respond to my emails," Ms Kelly said.
Council's Civic Services Manager Darren Patch said while council "understands the frustration drivers have with a road network that is less than perfect" they were providing the "best possible service" they could with current resources.
"We encourage motorists to drive to conditions and not the speed limit - the speed limit is a maximum, not a must," Mr Patch said.
"We urge drivers to always drive to local conditions as they can vary throughout the road network from one day to the next.
"The stark reality is that the state of our road network is a legacy of many successive councils and we would need approximately $70 million to completely repair the network, which is money Council simply does not have.
"In the last few years we have changed our methodology toward fixing roads and we now look strategically at where we can fix roads before they fall into disrepair, ensuring they remain waterproof and in good condition. This approach gets the most life out of every road.
"We also have in place procedures to inspect and repair our road network for potholes, which is an ongoing process. We conduct repairs as soon as possible when a defect is reported by one of our inspectors or the general public."