TV SPECIAL: Documentary showcases freak crash
IF VALERIE Thompson had taken one more step forward, the runaway car would have killed her.
In a freak accident, the elderly Northern Rivers woman was struck by a car as she walked out of the Maclean Commonwealth Bank on the morning of October 16 this year.
The 53-year-old woman driving the Holden sedan had suffered a stroke, causing the car to cross to the wrong side of the road and mount the kerb at speed.
"I didn't get on the footpath," Valerie, 81, said. "I was still in the bank when it hit me, just at the automatic doors."
"It was airborne, and it got me just I stepped through the doors and knocked me halfway back into the bank."
The impact almost severed Valerie's foot at the ankle, and she suffered multiple broken bones including a vertebrae, leg and shoulder.
Doctors had to amputate her left foot above the ankle.
But it could have been worse.
To save her life the crew of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was able to airlift Valerie to Lismore Base Hospital for urgent treatment almost immediately after the near tragedy.
Now the story of her rescue will be aired in an episode of the observational documentary, Air Rescue.
The episode featuring her story will premiere on Channel Seven next Tuesday night, December 19
The chopper landed at nearby sporting fields and within minutes had Valerie aboard.
Speaking from her hospital bed in Maclean two months after the crash, she said there were some "wonderful people" involved in her rescue.
She spent six weeks in Lismore Base and underwent two operations before being transferred to Maclean Hospital three weeks ago.
"They going to see if I can get out for a couple of days over Christmas, but then I'll have to come back," she said.
Despite the loss her foot, Valerie's son Warren said she was "upbeat" about her recovery.
"She's handling it really really well." Mr Thomson said.
"All she worries about is being a bother to people, that she's putting people out."
And if not for the timely response of the chopper crew, she might not be here at all.
"You can't thank them enough, they were so quick, they were really professional, and really did a good job with her," Mr Thomson said.
"A real bunch of nice guys, you couldn't have asked her to be in better hands.