WHEN he saw blood trickling from his mum's head, young Rockhampton boy Chandler Halliday realised the only thing he could do to help was run.
Run towards the Bruce Highway that is.
On Tuesday morning, the 11-year-old was in the back of his mum Fiona's car - his sister Elysse, 16, was the front passenger - when the vehicle rolled twice near Koumala, north of Rockhampton.
The car rolled off the road and into thick scrub taller than Chandler himself.
Fiona and Elysse managed to open their doors.
On Friday, Chandler's dad Darren spoke to The Morning Bulletin to retell his family's traumatic Tuesday morning.
"My son was the hero of the day because of what he did," Darren said.
Being the only one who could wriggle his way out of the vehicle, Chandler crawled out of the back seat and reached for a towel in the back of the car.
He ran to his mum to wipe the blood from her head, then bolted through the thick scrub and onto a 100km/h stretch of the Bruce Highway, to try to wave down a passing car.
The first four cars that passed ignored him.
It was an uncle of one of his Mackay friends who finally pulled over and threw the family the lifeline they needed.
RACQ CQ Rescue, from Mackay, and other emergency services raced to the scene to cut Fiona and Elysse free, and then airlift the family to the Mackay Base Hospital.
Fiona has two fractured ribs but has since been discharged from the hospital. Elysse sustained spinal injuries and remains in a stable condition.
Darren was in Canberra working at the time.
When he eventually received the news from more than 1800km away, a flustered Darren boarded the earliest flight to Mackay to be with his family.
He said yesterday his wife Fiona could not remember why the rollover took place.
"I took Chandler for breakfast at McDonald's yesterday because it's the breakfast of champions," Darren said.
"He was the hero of the day." The Halliday family is well-known throughout Central Queensland for their involvement in basketball.
Central Region car crashes
- To date this year there have been 24 car crashes in the Central Region, which includes Capricornia, Mackay and areas around Bundaberg.
- For the same time last year, there were 46 crashes in the Central Region.
- Five car crashes in the Capricornia region so far this year, compared with 10 last year for the same period.
- Five car crashes in the Mackay region so far this year, compared with 10 last year for the same period.