Damon Jenkins.
Damon Jenkins.

‘Only forward from here’: Man spends 7 hrs trapped in wreck

Damon Jenkins, 21, doesn't remember all of his late trip home to Mount Morgan on January 10.

His memory fails him about 10.30pm, right before his car left the road and rolled.

"I remember being on the Bouldy flat, and then I remember waking up in the car on the side of the road down an embankment," he said.

"Because I got knocked out I don't remember the interim period."

Looking around the ruined car, Damon felt his injuries and assessed his situation.

He knew that staying calm was essential.

"I was in a lot of pain," he said. "My left leg didn't work. My left arm - I couldn't use that hand at all - and my right arm was broken at the shoulder, but I could use that hand a little bit.

"I realised I was very injured. I knew that there was the potential of going into shock there, so I had to keep calm. I knew that if I started freaking out I'd die.

"I breathed deeply. I tried to count the stars. I actually prayed as well, even though I didn't believe I was religious."

He couldn't get the door open with his knee and his phone wouldn't work.

Above the embankment, most cars couldn't see him; those that did might have mistaken the recent crash site for an old one.

"I could just see the tops of the roofs of cars driving past, and every time that happened and no one saw me it made my heart sink a little bit," Damon said.

That sinking feeling deepened and consciousness became less vivid in the seven hours that passed.

But about 6am a truck driver pulled over: thanks to the height of his vehicle, Damon was visible.

"I've never seen a truck pull up so fast in my life," Damon said. "He slammed the brakes on on that truck, turned it around, came back, and then was standing at the top of the hill. That's when I ended up yelling out for help, and then he ran down.

"At that point I was so relieved. When he came down he's like, 'Is there anything I can do for you mate?' and I said, because I'm a smoker, 'I can't roll a smoke, am I able to have a cigarette?"

Paramedics soon arrived.

An ambulance officer gave him pain relief and kicked open the driver's side door from the inside.

Damon was cut from the car and driven to Rockhampton Base Hospital.

There he stayed in the Intensive Care Unit for six days and had three blood transfusions for the internal bleeding in his right shoulder.

Now at Mount Morgan Hospital, Damon's diagnosis includes broken bones in his right arm, left wrist, left leg, and ribs.

Though he can stand, he gets around in a wheelchair, kicking himself forward with his right leg.

"I'm going to be in hospital up here for probably another four weeks, and then I'll be going down to rehab in Rocky where I'll be able to learn to use my arms and be able to train myself to be able to use crutches because my leg's going to take longer than my arms," Damon said.

"I'm mainly optimistic with my recovery. I was a little bit upset and had trouble coming to deal with it for the first week or so, but after that I've come to realise that I've just got to continue what I'm doing and heal.

"There's no point being bitter about it or anything. It's only forward from here."

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