Cookernup crash survivor thanks emergency crews

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Jacinta Jennings was travelling back to Perth on South Western Highway last month when a tree branch fell on her car.
Camera IconJacinta Jennings was travelling back to Perth on South Western Highway last month when a tree branch fell on her car. Credit: Supplied

A lucky mother, who survived a freak accident in Cookernup last month, has reached out to thank emergency crews and bystanders who helped save her life that day.

Jacinta Jennings was travelling northbound on South Western Highway with her three-year-old son, Eric, and another family member, when a big tree branch fell from the sky — completely crushing the front half of her vehicle.

“I heard a loud crack and half a second later the tree came plummeting down,” Miss Jennings said.

The immense weight of the branch sent the back of the vehicle skyrocketing in the air.

“We were so lucky the car did not flip and roll,” she said.

Miss Jennings was travelling home to Perth on South Western Highway after visiting her family in Boyup Brook.

“I never usually take South Western Highway, I usually opt for Forrest Highway because it is closer to my home, but on that day I had to make an extra stop so South Western Highway was more convenient,” she said.

Jacinta Jennings was travelling back to Perth on South Western Highway last month when a tree branch fell on her car.
Camera IconJacinta Jennings was travelling back to Perth on South Western Highway last month when a tree branch fell on her car. Credit: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter/Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

A former police officer, Miss Jennings said she had experienced many traffic crashes in her career.

“My instincts kicked in, I just knew I had to brake and aim for the middle of the road if there was no oncoming traffic,” she said.

Miss Jennings said she had stopped to fuel up in Brunswick and was lucky her car did not explode with the full tank of petrol.

“I saw a lot of smoke and did not know whether it was from the airbag or a from an internal fire.”

The Perth mother said she was relieved when she heard her son cry from the back seat.

“I knew he was alive in that moment,” she said.

Miss Jennings praised the quick-thinking bystanders and the response from the emergency service crews.

“People were stopping and asking if I needed ice, pillows or water,” she said.

“They were exceptional, I am so grateful for everyone who helped.”

Miss Jennings suffered lower leg injuries and was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for surgery.

She believed many overhanging trees on South Western Highway presented a serious risk to drivers.

Main Roads manages South Western Highway and said it was “routinely patrolled” and inspected for hazards, including leaning trees.

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