Family and friends of Gai Vieira gathered outside St George Hospital today, fronting media to share their grief, and frustrations at the investigation into a crash that left the grandmother-of-four fighting for life.
Husband Bert, two children Trent and Cassie, and their partners, gave an emotional plea about the accident, as they remain by Mrs Vieira’s bedside.
Mrs Vieira, 68, was driving through Cronulla on September 5 when her car collided with a police vehicle at the intersection of The Kingsway and Connels Road.
She was with her grandson Tyler, 3, who was not injured.
Police said that the police officer, who suffered minor facial injuries, was pursuing a motorist he had seen using his mobile phone behind the wheel.
Mrs Vieira, who friends described as a well-known figure of the shire, suffered from broken bones, punctured lungs and remains in a coma with head trauma.
Her husband Bert says his family is trying to keep positive but want more action from police.
“This is the first time I’m speaking out because I have to, I have no choice,” he said.
“It’s been eight days and I want someone to take responsibility of what happened. The policeman wiped his face from scratches and went home. My wife didn’t not come home to me.
“The hospital has been fantastic in keeping us updated – but the police have told us nothing. Be upfront and honest with us. It’s not like a parking fine. They’ve destroyed our family’s lives. I’m asking the Prime Minister and Premier to step up. Put traffic lights in because cars are flying. What’s next – chase someone for eating in their car?
“You can’t blame the policeman but who authorised a high speed chase to catch someone on their phone? My family would like to know. We know police were sitting on top of the stairs at Rydges on radios, and witnesses say there were no skids marks on the road or sirens.”
His son Trent says the process feels like a bad dream.
“It’s truly difficult,” he said. “We’re trying to be optimistic but mum is not responding and it’s now a waiting game until she wakes up to see the severity of her trauma. She was in a deep coma at the incident because she was hit so hard.”
“We just want to know what happened. We believe NSW should follow other legislations where there are no high speed pursuits.”
Sutherland Shire councillor Marie Simone says the area around where the crash happened is in desperate needs of traffic calming measures.
“It’s been a problem for years,” she said. “That intersection on Kingsway and Woolooware Road is the most dangerous, especially in peak hour traffic. I don’t know why RMS aren’t putting lights in or a roundabout. It should’ve been done years ago.
“Connels Road where the crash happened, is really dangerous too. I wouldn’t even attempt to turn right from there unless it’s midnight. People can’t see especially when the sun’s out.
“I’ll be mentioning it at council on Monday night and I hope I can get the support. The sooner they do something, the better, and I hope they listen, because this could have been prevented.”