AN elderly Sydney woman has died in tragic circumstances after a crash on the Thunderbolts Way.
The 87-year-old woman was driving her 89-year husband to hospital in Gloucester for treatment of an intestinal bleed when the crash occurred.
Police report that the accident occurred about 10am on Saturday, 20km west of Gloucester.
A witness following the woman’s grey Holden Cruze sedan told police the vehicle was travelling around 70km/h at the time of the crash.
Just to the north of the Curricabark Rd turn-off the car veered off the road and travelled along the shoulder for a short distance before crashing into several trees.
The vehicle continued along the shoulder for approximately 70m before leaving the roadway entirely and crashing down an embankment where it rolled onto its roof.
“According to the witness, the vehicle did not veer suddenly or swerve, it simply travelled in a straight line veering further and further left along the road shoulder and then down the embankment,” Senior Constable Scott Chester from Gloucester Police said.
“The witness said that just prior to veering off the road, the vehicle appeared to accelerate slightly but there was no attempt to correct the vehicle and get it back onto the road as it veered off and travelled along the shoulder before eventually crashing.”
The driver following the car immediately stopped to check on the occupants of the vehicle.
The vehicle’s air bags had deployed and access was only possible through the driver’s side front and rear passenger door.
The other side of the vehicle was pinned against the ground and surrounding scrub.
“The 87-year-old driver was hanging upside down and was held in position by the vehicle’s seat belt,” Senior Constable Chester said.
“The driver was conscious but appeared to be experiencing breathing problems with short sharp breaths being taken.
“She was concerned for her 89-year-old husband, the passenger and asked the witness to make sure he was OK.
“As the witness rendered assistance to her husband, the driver complained of pain to her throat from the pressure of the seat belt.
“The witness was unable to relieve that seatbelt pressure at that point in time and was unable to remove the driver until they extracted the passenger due to him lying beneath the suspended driver.”
The witness was able to extract the elderly man from the vehicle via the rear doors.
The man suffered minor lacerations in the crash.
“The man was on his way to hospital in Gloucester due to a pre-existing intestinal problem. He was bleeding internally from the pre-existing injury,” Senior Constable Chester said.
The witness returned to assist the driver but on their return the woman had stopped breathing.
They were able to remove the woman from the vehicle and immediately began CPR.
The witness continued to perform CPR for about 10 minutes before police arrived.
“Police and then the SES took over CPR before ambulance personnel arrived,” Senior Constable Chester said.
“On their arrival the driver was confirmed deceased.”
The 89-year-old man was treated at the scene by paramedics and was later transported to John Hunter Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Police, the SES, Rural Fire Service, NSW Ambulance, highway patrol and crime scene investigators all attended.
A post mortem will be completed and inquiries into the cause of the accident are continuing.