An interactive road safety workshop for Melville Senior High School students, run by Kensington Police and Melville Rotary, was held at George Burnett Park, Karawara, last month. One of the most influential and popular presenters was Willagee car accident survivor Danny Harrison. This is his story.
He also knows there will always be that ringleader who will goad whoever is behind the wheel to ‘go faster’, ‘do a blackie’, ‘be a hero’, ‘put your foot down.’
The 35-year-old is acutely familiar with both scenarios after surviving a horror smash 18 years ago as the driver of his first car in his hometown of Boddington.
Danny wants to appeal to young people ” drivers and passengers alike ” to think before ‘being stupid’ as he was aged 17, just days after getting his driver’s licence.
With four passengers he ‘floored it’ and after a high-speed impact into the side of a hill was lucky to live, while his passengers also suffered injuries of varying degrees.
He is thankful daily there was no loss of life and that no other road users were involved and is reminded constantly of his actions as he and his girlfriend live with the sometimes crippling symptoms of the brain injury he acquired as a result.
‘September 8, 1995 is seared into my memory. I was lucky to make it to hospital once they stabilised me at Boddington,’ he said. In hospital for three months, he had to start life again, re-learning how to walk, talk, read, eat and swim.
‘I don’t want someone else go through hell like my family and I did,’ he said.
He now eagerly shares his harrowing story ” especially with teenagers and their parents ” in an effort to encourage driver safety awareness, with the festive season and other times of celebration in mind.
Mr Harrison’s injuries are obvious, with slowed speech and jerky movements, but his ready smile and cheeky personality are perfect for driving home his message.
In the eighth month of a plant fitter’s apprenticeship at Boddington gold mine at the time of the accident, he said he had not been able to realise his life’s dreams of getting a trade, earning a living and pursuing his love of motocross, instead receiving a disability pension while managing his health.
Mr Harrison is available to speak to groups. Email firstname.lastname@example.org