Jade-Elle would do anything for her sisters!
Brave sister, Jade-Elle Brown, 12 tells the story in her own words.
W￼ho wants to go to the bakery?’ my poppy asked.‘Me!’ my little sisters, Ruby and Molly, both six, chimed. The twins were excited about getting a treat and so was I!
My mum, Justine, was at work, and my dad, Matthew, had just finished a night shift, so he was asleep. It was school holidays, so my grandpa, Stephen, who I call Pop, was looking after us. Luckily, he lived right next door with my nan, Emma, on a big cattle farm, so we got to see them all the time.
Piling into Dad’s dual cab ute, we drove to the bakery, about half-an-hour away. ‘What are we having, girls?’ Pop asked us. I knew what I wanted – a jam doughnut. Molly and Ruby got the same and Pop picked his favourite – a curry pie. Hopping back into the truck, I shotgunned the front seat, right next to Pop. Molly climbed behind him in the back, and Ruby slid in next to her. Buckling up, we were ready to go.
Turning onto the Bruce Highway, there were heaps of road works, so Pop had to drive really slowly. But I didn’t mind – I had an entire doughnut to finish! We’d only been driving for five minutes when I noticed a huge motorhome coming towards us. Pop must’ve had the same thought, because all of a sudden he yanked the steering wheel really hard to the left. As he did, the ute veered to the side of the road and my doughnut flew out of my hand.
Skidding, the car began to roll down into the ditch. We’re okay! I thought, shaking as we came to a stop. But it wasn’t over. A couple of seconds later, the roof caved in as the motorhome landed on top of us. We were trapped! Instantly, a bad smell, like petrol, filled the air.
Looking over at Pop, his head was bleeding but he was already reaching over, trying to open my door. ‘We’ve got to get out,’ he said, trying to be calm. But I could tell he was scared. ‘Ow – that hurts,’ I groaned in pain as Pop’s weight rested on my leg while he banged at the door. I’d never had a broken bone before, but it was pounding so hard, I was sure it had snapped. By now, I could hear Ruby as she struggled to get out her window. Scarily, Molly was silent...Was my baby sister okay?
Undoing my seatbelt, I peered back. Covered in blood, Molly’s eyes were closed. I couldn’t even tell if she was breathing. By now, Ruby had escaped but Pop couldn’t reach Molly. I need to save my sister! I realised, shifting in my seat without a second thought.Wiggling over the centre console, I looked up to see a hole had been smashed in the roof. There’s enough room to squeeze out, I decided, as I poked my head out. But I wasn’t going anywhere without Molly!
Inching back down, I popped open her seatbelt and picked her up as gently as I could. Heaving Molly up with all my strength, I bit my lip and ignored the burning in my leg. Straight away, a kind stranger grabbed her from my arms, pulling Molly to safety, and then me.
Laying us on the ground, I looked over at my sister. Her favourite One Direction T-shirt was stained red and she still hadn’t woken up.Pop had somehow managed to break free, too. As the paramedics helped me and my sisters, he was on the phone to Mum. ‘A motorhome’s just taken us out,’ I heard him tell her.
Then we were bundled into separate ambulances and taken to Hervey Bay Hospital. Mum and Dad were there, waiting for us. ‘It’s just badly bruised,’ the doctor smiled, after X-raying my leg, which was black and blue. And luckily, Ruby only had a nasty seatbelt burn. Aside from that, she and Pop were fine.
A couple of hours later, my cheeky sister was chatting away and eating ice blocks next to my bed! But scarily, the Royal Flying Doctors had to take Molly to Brisbane. She was alive, but she needed an operation to fix a big gash on her head. ‘I’m going – even if I have to hang onto the bottom of the plane!’ I heard Mum say.
I wanted her near, but I knew my little sister needed her more.Thankfully, after a five-hour operation, Molly was okay. Now, she’s got a scar and can’t lift her right eyebrow as some of her nerves were damaged. Still, she’s as beautiful as ever.
After the accident, the police issued the driver of the motorhome a traffic infringement.Three years on, Pop and I were given bravery awards! A very humble man, he didn’t want to come to the ceremony last March. ‘Please come, Pop – I want you there,’ I pleaded.
Giving in, he came and we collected our Commendations for Brave Conduct together. Best of all, Molly is happy and healthy. Like all little sisters, she can be a little bit annoying sometimes.‘Hey, I saved your life!’ I’ll remind her, cheekily. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
For more, pick up this week's copy of that's life! - on sale now.