Police officer fighting back after tragic crash
AFTER a horror head-on crash on Rosedale Rd, South Kolan's Senior Constable Dan Lukan has returned to work on light duties.
In November an 80-year-old Sunshine Coast woman died as her car crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collected Snr Const Lukan's police car.
The crash left Snr Const Lukan with a fractured tibia, collapsed lung and cracked rib and he continues to receive ongoing rehabilitation treatment in the hope he can return to the job he loves.
"I've got a plate that runs down the side of my leg with a number of screws in it to hold it all into place," he said.
"I'm a very active guy but when someone takes your legs from you - and it's only a glimpse for me - you can't move, you can't do things.
"I've only just come off crutches in the last couple of weeks.
"Using crutches you can't carry a cup of coffee, you can't carry a plate, showering is a problem, everything is a problem that you just wouldn't think. It's very hard to get in and out of a car."
Adding to Snr Const Lukan's run of bad luck, in December a tree branch fell on the roof of his personal car.
In January as he was being driven to the panel beaters to pick up that car, another motorist drove straight through a give way sign and collected the car he was a passenger in.
"I couldn't believe it," Snr Const Lukan said.
"When I got hit in the police car I couldn't believe it...I did everything I could to get off the road and I still couldn't believe I got hit.
"But you just keep going. With traffic crashes you don't know when it's going to happen. After the police car hit - because it was high impact, you just cringe - you're driving and think if this person comes out its going to hurt.
"It was a big hit. I remember the car coming out; I remember trying to get to the side of the road as fast as I could and I remember it was almost like frozen in time. Her bonnet touching my bonnet and then there was a bang and everything went dark because all the airbags went off."
Snr Const Lukan said he'd been to a lot of highway crashes as a police officer and knew pulling off to the side was a better option than swerving hard and potentially hitting a tree.
"A car versus a tree is not a good combination," he said.
"After the impact I was stunned and I could smell the burning and I thought the car was on fire. I tried my door and it wouldn't open.
"Because it was such a hard hit I knew I'd probably sustained an injury but I managed to get out of the passenger side and I knew just to lay still until the ambulance came."
"It was just a massive hit...I think the investigator said it pushed me 10m back."
Snr Const Lukan didn't need to be involved in a traffic crash to know the devastating consequences. In his job he's had to knock on doors and tell family members their loved ones have been killed or watch paramedics try in vein to resuscitate children on the side of the road.
But now more than ever he's reminding people that there is a very good reason why police officers enforce road rules - and it has nothing to do with revenue raising.
"It's all about reducing the road toll," he said.
"When people drive when they shouldn't they don't consider the effects it might have on other people.
"We all drive on the road every day and we don't know what the other driver is doing.
"I'm lucky I was at work, if I'd been in my little car I'd be pushing up daisies."