How a fatal crash turned a paramedic's life upside down
FRASER Coast paramedic Martin Kelly knows all too well the heartache and devastation road tragedies can have on the families of the victims and the emergency responders.
Before he attended hundreds of fatal car accidents throughout his career, he found himself carrying his brother's coffin one day and his cousin's the next day.
It was a fatal crash that turned his family's lives upside down 30 years ago and is just as vivid today as it was then.
The Queensland Ambulance Service Senior Operations Supervisor for our region lost his brother, cousin, his cousin's wife and two kids, along with a friend of theirs in a crash at Easter time.
It happened in a small town in New South Wales while Mr Kelly was working as a paramedic in Mackay.
"I always remember Mum saying one thing a parent should never do is bury their own kid," Mr Kelly said.
The long-time paramedic hopes his story will see motorists exercise caution on Fraser Coast roads as more people get behind the wheel for the Easter holidays.
It comes at a time where four lives have been lost on local roads in the last fortnight.
"Our paramedics have to see these distressing things all the time and it never goes away," Mr Kelly said.
In Mr Kelly's 39 years in the industry he's been to hundreds of fatal crashes - many of them unnecessary.
Mr Kelly's brother was only 21 when he was killed, his cousins were in their 30s and the friend was also in their 30s.
A tyre blew on the family car and another vehicle ran a blind corner, hitting them and killing all six.
"We all see tragedy on the roads but we never get to understand what that means down the track unless it happens to us," he said.
"I carried my brother's coffin one day and my cousin's coffin the next."
The father of three was 23 when he lost his brother, who was a good mate.
"I still remember it like it was yesterday, the phone call and what we were doing at the time."
Mr Kelly said as a society we've become time poor and this was playing a dangerous part on roads.
"We need to give up on that and understand that saving a few minutes here can be a life changing event," he said.