It's every father’s worst nightmare.
A 14-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has spent the past three days in intensive care at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital after a horrific crash at Unanderra on Friday night.
The girl, a passenger in the car being driven by 19-year-old Shaun Primmer, who has allegedly never held a licence, suffered massive internal injuries and a brain bleed when the vehicle slammed into a pole on the corner of Graham Street and Waples Road.
The girl has suffered seizures since arriving at hospital, and cannot breathe without the help of a machine.
The first her father learnt of the crash was when the girl’s mother called him to say she was on the way to hospital.
Speaking to the Mercury yesterday, he made an impassioned plea to other parents to be more careful about who they let their children spend time with.
"My message to other parents is don't let your kids out of your sight," he said.
"Don't let them jump into cars with people who say they're their friends."
Yesterday's Illawarra Mercury reported the 14-year-old girl was the driver's stepsister, however, the girl's father said this was incorrect, and the two were not related in any way.
The driver was yesterday refused bail for a second time in Wollongong Magistrate's Court.
On Saturday morning, the court heard Primmer had been sentenced two weeks earlier over a police pursuit and driving without ever obtaining a licence.
He had been banned from driving, the court heard.
The girl's father questioned why more hadn't been done to stop Primmer getting back behind the wheel of a car given the seriousness of his previous crimes.
"If the system worked properly he would be in jail and my daughter would not be in the predicament she is now," he said.
Stephen Page, who was at home when he heard the crash nearby, was among the first to come to the teenage girl's aid.
The girl's father praised Mr Page, who is also a member of the Rural Fire Service, saying he had stayed with his daughter while paramedics worked to free her.
"He sat there and held my daughter's neck and head in one place while they were cutting her out of the car," he said.
"[My daughter] had taken the full impact of the pole on her side of the vehicle," the father said. "She was knocked unconscious at the site."
The Mercury also received an anonymous phone call praising the man for his "heroic" actions.
The girl's father has asked for any family wanting to learn about his daughter's condition to contact him or the girl's mother directly, as the hospital is not authorised to give out information.