HARROWING: Witness recalls tragic scene
SKID marks remain along Armidale Rd as a chilling reminder of Saturday's tragedy, but they could provide crucial clues as to what happened.
Just after 8.30am, emergency services were called to a three-vehicle collision at Nymboida. A 17-year-old female, whose car was found down an embankment, died at the scene.
A motorist who arrived just moments after the incident said the scene initially looked like a minor collision between two utes.
"Both people involved looked OK, but you couldn't see the third car. I didn't realise how serious it was," he said.
"There was just this fellow with his boat and trailer tipped on its side and the other car was dinged up. I thought it was just those two cars involved. "
The man, who did not wish to be named, said he assisted the male driver with tipping the boat and trailer back onto the correct side so the vehicle could be moved off to the side to clear the roadway.
"While we were doing that he said there was a girl in the car who wasn't in a good way," he said.
Thinking it was the 63-year-old woman in the other ute, the witness said he helped assist the woman who was suffering chest pain.
"She was able to get out of her car, but her airbag went off so she was in a bit of pain," he said.
"She was understandably quite shaken by the whole event."
However, while sitting with the woman the witness learned there was a third person involved in the collision, a teenage girl still trapped in her car.
"I saw two people climb down to the girl's car. One lady had a first aid kit but then that same lady started walking back up just shaking her head," he said.
"There wasn't much that could be done."
The witness, who regularly uses Armidale Rd, said he rarely saw anyone speeding but the road structure could cause problems for inexperienced drivers or those unfamiliar with the terrain.
"The lanes are often too narrow and there's some pretty rough surface to drive on at times," he said.
"If you drive to conditions at a suitable speed that's fine, but if you're going a bit too quick or you have to suddenly swerve to avoid something, that road becomes quite unforgiving.
"I came across a log truck rollover some time last year along the same road and they'd come around the corner too quick."
It's understood the section of road where the collision occurred was upgraded by Clarence Valley Council more than a year ago, but the man said a small structural defect in the road, specifically around the bend, could still pose problems for drivers.
"When you come around that sweeping bend where the accident happened, the southbound lane slopes from left to right as it should. But just on the outer edge of that southbound lane the road just curves off a whisker and slopes the other way. It pulls you a little bit and if someone overcompensates just as another car is coming, they could easily land in trouble," he said.
"I don't know what happened with this incident on the weekend and don't want to make assumptions, but the marks on the road show a car going too wide - you can see the wheel mark had gone over that edge."
Police are appealing for anyone with information about the incident to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800333000 or Grafton police on 66420222.