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Features > When Good Neighbours... Crash Their Cars by Edd, Sian and Steve

This week saw the Parker family come a cropper as they swerved to avoid a horse during a trip to Oakey. But it’s not the first time tragedy has struck on the roads for the residents of Erinsborough – here’s a look back at some of Neighbours’ other driving disasters…

Scott, Paul and Mike's Crash
As the 1986 season was winding down, Jim Robinson gave his son Scott a car, unaware that, within hours of passing on the gift, disaster would strike. With Scott unable to drive, his brother Paul took him out to find somewhere quiet to practice, with Scott’s best mate Mike Young along for the ride. Meanwhile, Clive Gibbons was in the process of proposing marriage to girlfriend Susan Cole but, caught up in the moment, they failed to notice the pram, containing Susan’s son, Sam, rolling off down the hill, straight into the path of Scott’s new car. Paul managed to swerve and avoid the pram, but the car spun around and flipped over. Paul and Mike sustained only minor injuries, but things were more serious for Scott, who was taken into emergency surgery with a suspected fractured skull. As he recovered from the op, Scott briefly thought he was paralysed when he couldn’t feel his legs, but tests showed that it was simply some bruising on his spinal cord, which subsided after a few days.

The Drag Race Crash
The 1994 rivalry between Rick Alessi and school bad boy Briggs soon led to disaster when their drag race ended with Briggs’ car, carrying him, his best mate Lenny and Danni Stark, crashed into a tree. Rick’s bravado over his new car soon vanished when he realised how serious things were, and a panicky Cody was unable to do anything as she realised that Briggs had stopped breathing. The paramedics soon arrived and took over, with a distraught, but physically fine, Danni being cut from the wreckage while Briggs and Lenny were taken to hospital. Later, word came through that Briggs had died at the hospital, and Cody was horrified to realise that if she’d been able to clear his airways at the scene, there might have been a chance to save him, prompting her to pursue a career in medicine.

Ben's Crash
In the 1997 season finale, Ben Atkins took part in a car race that ended in disaster. Coached and sponsored by Lou, he went into the race with his mother Ruth, her partner Philip, his half brother Lance and a few other Neighbours cheering him on from the stands. Car 45 was doing excellently – until Ben glanced away for a moment, looking back just in time to see that he was headed straight for a car that had pulled out from the pits. With no time to swerve – and at the very moment that Philip asked Ruth to marry him - Ben’s car flipped into the air and rolled over as it crashed down on to the track and flames quickly spread. As the credits rolled for the end of 1997, Ben’s life hung in the balance. However, he managed to pull through, though he was in a coma for some days and afterwards he had to learn how to walk again. A positive outcome of the crash was that Ben’s birth father, Geoff Burke, found him and a few months later, fully recovered, Ben moved to Sydney to work with him.

Brendan, Libby and Steph's Crash
2000 brought a crash of tremendous repercussions. When trainee teacher Daniel Fitzgerald moved in with colleague Tess Bell it had consequences that are still felt on the street today. When Tess’ estranged, possessive and slightly crazed husband came looking for her, he was furious to discover that she was out clubbing with Dan. Driving off in the dark and rain, he sped recklessly past a bus – straight into the path of the motorbike carrying Steph Scully and Libby Kennedy. Brendan died in hospital from his injuries, whilst Steph suffered a broken leg. Libby, meanwhile, was left in a critical condition, and though she pulled through, she was told that she wouldn’t be able to have children. This was another bump in the road for the Libby and Drew saga when Libby decided to call off their wedding. But eventually they did get married, and they even had a miracle baby, Ben. Now, 9 years later, Drew has passed away and Libby is married to one Daniel Fitzgerald, and they are using Susan as a surrogate in order to have a child together.

Woody's Crash
In 2001, Steph Scully’s plans to leave Erinsborough for a new life in witness protection with boyfriend Larry ‘Woody’ Woodhouse devastated her family, but nobody expected the tragedy that was about to unfold for her. As the pair stopped at a service station and Steph went to phone home, Woody found himself bundled into the car by one of the associates of the criminial, Kev Kelly, they were on the run from. As Steph saw Woody’s car speed off into the distance, she thought it was some kind of joke, until she heard a crash and looked on, horrified, as a fireball ascended into the sky in front of her. Steph went into mourning, though no body was found, a mystery that was solved later that year when Kev Kelly died and Woody showed up on Steph’s doorstep. He explained that he’d gone into hiding to protect her, but with Kev gone, they could finally be together. A marriage proposal followed, but Steph had moved on and Woody was forced to do the same.

Matt and Leo's Crash
Matt’s drag racing adventures of 2002 were the beginning of the end for Hancock family. Matt saw drag racing as the solution to all his money woes, but it all went wrong... As he revved up at the starting line, his little brother Leo jumped into the car and there wasn’t time to make him get out. The two cars raced off, and Matt was winning. But losing his concentration as he looked around to see where his opponent was, Matt swerved into the path of the other car, which was forced to swerve itself and crashed into a tree. Meanwhile, Matt and Leo hurtled off the road and knocked a power-walking Harold over as they went. The blow left Harold temporarily blind, whilst Matt’s fellow drag racer was left hanging between life and death. Matt and Leo were comparatively unscathed, though Matt was charged with dangerous driving, with the possibility of it becoming manslaughter if the other man didn’t pull through. And so his family had to sell their house to pay his legal bills, and leave Ramsay Street behind.

Dee and Toadie's Crash
It had been the perfect wedding day- beautiful location, glorious weather and everyone’s favourite; the lovable Toadie marrying the girl of his dreams Dee. The newlyweds drove off into the sunset with Toadie surprising his wife with a trip to the Maldives the following day. The secret honeymoon was a huge surprise for Dee and as the couple continued along the empty coastal road to their hotel; neither of them could keep their hands of each other. Toadie, at the wheel, lent across to give his wife a kiss, but in just the few seconds that he’d taken his eyes off the road, the car ploughed straight on at a dangerous bend before plunging spectacularly into the sea. Toadie managed to escape, but in the frantic search for his wife, poor Dee was nowhere to be seen. As the rescue teams arrived, Toadie sat inconsolable on the beach realising his mistake and wishing he could turn the clock back. Sadly, Dee was never found and ever since Toadie has lived with the pain of what ruined his perfect wedding day.

Not forgetting...
One of Neighbours’ earliest episodes saw a dramatic car crash, as the police were chasing a couple of criminals who’d just robbed Pacific Bank, and they ended up colliding with Shane and Danny Ramsay, resulting in injuries that put paid to Shane’s promising diving career. A couple of years later, Gail Robinson’s ex-husband Jeremy Lord was determined to drive the infamous Number 13 racing car, only for it to end in tragedy when it crashed on the racetrack and he was killed. One of Erinsborough’s more comical car accidents occurred when Henry Ramsay was trying to teach his mum, Madge, to drive after she won a car in a competition. Unfortunately, it ended in disaster as she ran into a fire hydrant, causing water to cascade over the street and soak Eileen Clarke and Nell Mangel, dressed in their bowling gear.

More recent car accidents have included Jack Scully crashing into an electricity pylon and knocking out the neighbourhood’s power after a drug-fuelled night spent with new friend Mac. And Boyd Hoyland was also involved in a couple of car crashes – wiping out Toadie’s car when he took it for a joyride, and getting himself into an accident when the police were chasing him and murderer Charlotte Stone.