Car crash survivor recalls horror
SHE had had her driver's licence for just two months when, with three close friends as passengers, she lost control of her car, rolling on a gravel road.
Her mates escaped uninjured but 17-year-old Megan Loneragan's condition was life threatening.
She had a fractured skull, a broken neck, a punctured lung and 24 hours after she was airlifted to a Brisbane Hospital she suffered a stroke.
Yet somehow, against all medical odds, she survived.
“Mum and Dad just begged doctors to do what they could to keep me alive,” Ms Loneragan said.
It was a wish which translated into three months in a coma during a hospital stay that would last “nine months, one week and one day”.
When she finally checked out, it was in a wheelchair and she was a teenager trying to make sense of a world changed beyond recognition.
“I had a car, so I had offered to drive,” she said recalling the accident.
“I wasn't speeding but I had never driven on a gravel road.
“I lost control, the car rolling over and over and my door came open.”
The accident happened south-west of Goondiwindi in 1993.
Yesterday she bravely shared her story at Warwick's first Remember Day in Leslie Park.
A joint initiative of Warwick police, fire and State Emergency Service crews, the day attracted a 100-strong crowd focused on remembering those killed or injured on our roads.
For Warwick Police District Office inspector Greg Morrow, it was also a day designed to raise community awareness and encourage responsibility for road trauma.
“It is our collective challenge as a community to take responsibility for our actions and behaviours on the road and to do what we can to reduce the number of accidents,” Insp Morrow said.
“If you are aged between four and 14, the most likely cause of death would be a road accident.”
He said it was the responsibility of both drivers and passengers to ensure seat belts were worn, speed limits observed and drivers weren't tired or drinking.
For Warwick mother and grandmother Terri Beaver, the Remember Day message was moving and powerful.
“Days like this give passengers, as well as drivers, permission to speak up and say slow down,” Mrs Beaver said.
“Every secondary school student in town should have to been there: We need to reduce the road toll.”
Megan Loneragan's message was simple.
“Next time you get in a car, please think of me and think I don't want to end up like her.
“I won't take any offence at all."