I started screaming, ‘where’s my baby’: Mum's crash terror
MUM-of-two Crystal Brown was only moments from home when her car collided with another at high speed, sending her car spinning across an oncoming lane of traffic and into a pole.
With her was her mum, 18-month-old son Hudson and three-week old baby Annablla.
While the whole thing was over in a matter of minutes, Mrs Brown says she will never forget the sheer terror for the rest of her life.
Those moments of terror has her calling for action on one of the Coast's most deadly roads.
It was just before 3pm on Tuesday, October 1 when the family set off from their home in Beerwah to run some errands.
They were heading north along Steve Irwin Way in an 80km/h zone when they approached a right-hand turn onto Caloundra St.
A car turning right pulled out before Mrs Brown said she could hit the brakes.
"I didn't have time to hit the brakes. In that half-a-second I hear my mum gasp and I thought, that's it, we're going to die," she said.
The impact sent Mrs Brown's car over the centre median and into oncoming traffic before hitting a pole.
The airbags deployed and Mrs Brown says she remembers thinking, "great, I'm alive".
She looked over at her mum, who was alert and looking around.
"I didn't even talk to her, I think I tried to get out of the car but the door didn't open, so I kicked it open," she said.
"I was stumbling around outside when I saw the other car and there was a woman sitting on the ground holding her head. I tried to ask her if she was OK, but she didn't respond.
"That's when it hit me that I had kids in the car and that's when my heart dropped.
"I ran around to the other side of the car but my child capsule wasn't in its base, it was missing."
Terrifying thoughts began running through her head as she imagined her baby girl lying in the debris.
"I started screaming, 'Where's my baby? Help me find my baby'.
Unbeknown to Mrs Brown's, her mum, Birdina Baich, had suffered a broken sternum and was winded and couldn't speak.
"She told me she could see the pod had popped out of its casing and landed in the middle seat. She could see little hands raising up, so she knew they were OK," she said.
A passerby, who she knows only as Linda, left a car full of children to come to her aide.
"She saw me and said, 'no, she's in here'. I was shaking so I couldn't get her out, so she did.
"That was probably the most traumatic part of the whole thing."
Mrs Brown knows she's one of the lucky ones, but says something needs to be done to make Steve Irwin Way safer for motorists, particularly around intersections.
"The way I felt for those two seconds, I'm sure I'm never going to forget," she said.
In a post to a social media platform, Mrs Brown thanked not only Linda, but all the paramedics, police, fireys, towies and hospital staff for their help.
"We were so fortunate that no one was seriously injured. What you do for a living might not always turn out so well and I need to shine a light on the amazing job you take on a daily basis. My family will never forget your kindness or support.
"I will be hugging my family a little closer tonight."