'I thought I was going to die': crash survivor
TRAPPED in a truck wreck with broken legs, fuel pooling underneath him on the ground and bystanders' panicked cries surrounding him, Ben Nickell's only thought was if he died, who would look after his partner and children?
"I thought I was going to die,” he told Big Rigs from his Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital bed.
The 33-year-old from Coomera on the Gold Coast, who owns concrete business NickellCrete Development, was heading home to an event at Helensvale Fight World with an employee when a car from the opposite direction smashed into his Mitsubishi concrete truck on Main Myrtletown Rd in Pinkenba in Brisbane's north on August 17.
The driver of the car, who is believed to be a male foreign national, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ben's employee Jesse, who was in the truck with him, escaped serious injury, however Ben was trapped in the truck for about 45minutes.
"Jesse was wigging out, panicking, trying to see if he could get me out,” Ben said.
"I tried to stand up but I couldn't because of my ankle, and I looked down to see the bone coming out of my shin of my other leg.
"Truckies who stopped on the side of the road were giving me a hand and one of the other guys who works for me was in a truck behind us.
"One guy was helping with a fire extinguisher.
"But then a couple of other people (who had stopped) got their phones out and started filming me while I was stuck in the truck and didn't try to help.”
Emergency services were quickly on the scene and managed to get him out of the mangled truck.
But all Ben could think about was his partner of 14years, Casey Hewitt Scott, and their three young children.
"It was pretty scary. I thought the truck was going to go up and I thought I was going to die,” he said.
"I've seen everyone panicking and the fuel under the truck and I just thought, 'Who is going to look after them?'”
While he's had several surgeries to treat his broken leg and ankle, Ben is confident he will recover and eventually get back behind the wheel of his truck.
"After the surgery I felt like I'd been cleaned up with a shovel, I was in so much pain. When I came in here they said if you keep your leg you'll be limping around.”
But so far, so good, and Ben and his partner were told he'll be able to walk again in about three to six months.
Workers at the Helensvale Fight World, where he started training a few months back, started up a GoFundMe page after the crash to help the family of five.
The page has raised more than $9378 in the weeks since the crash.
Casey, who was a stay-at-home mother, said she and Ben couldn't put into words how grateful they were for the support from everyone who donated and those who had contacted them offering their support.
"If it wasn't for them I'd be at home stressing about having to go to work,” she said.
"We'd only just joined a few months ago. It's amazing, they're just family forever.”
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances of the crash.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/