Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 06/04/2004, pg. 3

A PARAMEDIC had to leave a seriously injured man at the scene of a horror road accident at the weekend because he had only one stretcher in his ambulance.

Rob O’May, a relieving paramedic at Jandowae ambulance station 150km northwest of Toowoomba, was forced to make the decision to leave an injured man behind.

Three men were in a utility which overturned on a gravel road and crashed into a tree about 4pm on Saturday. The three had just left a friend’s home north of Jandowae. They were all thrown from the utility.

The only one to escape serious injury, John Hamilton, of Toowoomba, ran 3km to raise the alarm.

When Mr O’May arrived at the scene he had to take critically injured Darren Wenham, 20, to hospital leaving the seriously injured driver, Michael Giles, 24, behind.

A volunteer auxiliary firefighter, a friend of the injured men, drove the ambulance while Mr O’May treated Mr Wenham, a father of three.

But Mr Wenham’s left arm had been torn off and he died from his injuries before he could be airlifted by helicopter from Jandowae hospital.

Mr O’May then returned to the accident scene to treat Mr Giles — Mr Wenham’s cousin — who had several broken ribs and a broken shoulder.
He took him to Jandowae hospital and Mr Giles was later transferred to Toowoomba hospital

Mr O’May did the double emergency trip before an ambulance sent from Dalby, 50km away, could arrive.

Mr Wenham’s partner, Kylie Lankowski, was in shock yesterday as she tried to come to terms with the death of her childhood sweetheart.

The two met when they were in Year 7 at Jandowae State School.

“Darren was the smartest in class but he liked playing up,” Ms Lankowski said.

She said Mr Wenham had left school after Year 10 and worked for a local house removal company.

But a few weeks ago he had secured a plumbing apprenticeship in Toowoomba.

The couple has three children Sheralee, 2, Dean, 18 months and Coby, five months.

“Darren didn’t want to remain a labourer. He wanted to qualify in a trade,” Ms Lankowski said.

“He was a hard worker who loved his children and was excited about his future,” she said.

In a tragic reminder before the Easter break, Ms Lankowski — whose brother was killed in a car accident two years ago — pleaded with drivers to take extra care.

In an accident on Friday night Matthew Callaghan, 16, of Tara was killed on the Warrego Highway near Dalby .

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Copyright 2004 / Courier Mail