Brothers’ trauma after being hit by out-of-control car
THE sounds of car engines revving and the school bell ringing are enough to traumatise two young brothers severely injured when they were hit by an out-of-control car during school pick-up.
Declan and Dylan Bousen are still in wheelchairs but have returned to school part time at the Australian Christian College's Moreton campus at Caboolture, north of Brisbane, after the terrifying March 27 crash, which left six children hurt.
The boys were sheltering from the rain under the awning of a school building as they waited for their mother, Sasha, to pick them up when the Dad of another child lost control of his car and hit them.
Since they returned to school, Mrs Bousen has dropped the boys off after the bell in the morning and picked them up before it rings in the afternoon to avoid the before school and after school drop-off and pick-up traffic when the carpark is full.
Declan, 11, also carries ear muffs around school to block out loud noises, if he needs to. Fire officers had to use chainsaws on the day of the crash to cut down parts of trees so paramedics could manoeuvre their stretchers.
"The noise was insane. Noises really affect him terribly," Mrs Bousen said.
She was in her car with her youngest son, Rye, who has since turned five, when she saw a car speed past her on her left side, and then heard an "almighty crash".
"I was thinking: I hope nobody was hit. Is everybody all right? And then it dawned on me that I'd told the boys to stand over there to get out of the rain," she said, her voice quivering with emotion.
Mrs Bousen told Rye to stay in the car and ran towards the crash site.
She found Declan lying on the ground, covered in the mangled aluminium sheeting of the bench seat he was jumping on when the out-of-control car hit, breaking his left wrist and both the tibia and fibula of his left leg.
"I asked him if he was OK and he said: "Where's Dylan?" Mrs Bousen recalled.
Dylan, 12, and a teenage girl, were both pinned against the wall by the car.
"They were jammed, they were lying over the bonnet," Mrs Bousen said. "Dylan was screaming and crying and the young girl was starting to drift in and out of consciousness. I was screaming at people to try and move the car. We ended up getting about seven men to come and carry it off the kids and then pulled them free of the wreckage."
Dylan had also broken the tibia and fibula of his left leg, leaving a bullet hole-like wound where one of the bones had pierced his skin.
He also had burns on the top of his right thigh, on his right calf and on his left foot and ankle, where radiator fluid dripped on to his leg. The Year 7 schoolboy has had seven surgeries, including a skin graft.
While the Bribie Island brothers' physical injuries are gradually starting to heal, their parents fear their psychological scars may take longer.
Mrs Bousen is also struggling to deal with the emotional trauma of the accident.
"I think I've got post-traumatic stress," she said. "Noises set me off. I didn't see the car hit the kids. But I heard it hit.
"I hate the rain and seeing cars coming too close or coming up the left-hand side while I'm driving.
"I guess because we are concentrating on the boys, you kind of have to put your own feelings in a box and put it to the side until you have an opportunity to deal with it yourself. It's not nearly as important as the boys right now."
Despite the family's suffering since the crash, Mrs Bousen and her husband Keith, said they bore no ill will towards the driver of the car that hit their boys.
"We're not angry," Mrs Bousen said. "We see it as an unfortunate accident. We are very mindful he has children at the school as well and we feel for those kids and for the family. We've been praying for them. Our hearts go out to them. As much as we're hurting, we know that they're hurting too."
Queensland Police are understood to still be investigating the accident and no charges have been laid.
The 42-year-old driver was breath tested at the scene. He recorded a negative result.
He is believed to have panicked after accidentally hitting another car in the car park, and then mistaking the accelerator for the brake.
The Bousens have lodged a claim for compensation against the compulsory third party insurer of the driver to help pay the family's medical costs.
Slater and Gordon principal lawyer Kavita Maharaj said: "the Bousen family have a long road ahead of them and we are glad to have helped them with the claim process".
As they continue to deal with the trauma of the crash, Mrs Bousen described her boys as her "super heroes" for their resilience in such horrible circumstances.
"The boys are in good spirits despite their continued hurdles," she said. "They are brave boys."
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family to help them pay for a tutor for the boys, hospital parking and food bills which have piled up since the crash.