Family’s bedside vigil for teen after horror collision

Josh Watts, 14, is fighting for life in a Brisbane hospital after a harrowing two-vehicle crash last week. Photo Contributed
Josh Watts, 14, is fighting for life in a Brisbane hospital after a harrowing two-vehicle crash last week. Contributed

A LOCKYER Valley teenager is facing a long and painful road to recovery after a two-vehicle crash left him fighting for life.

Joshua Watts, 14, had been on his way to Gatton cadets with his sister and a family friend last Wednesday evening when their vehicle collided with an oncoming vehicle.

Joshua, the rear passenger in a Commodore sedan driving along Forest Hill-Fernvale Rd, copped the brunt force of a crash which trapped him in the vehicle as emergency services raced to the scene.

His sister, Taleena, also 14, was injured in the crash but had managed to call their mum Kate Keates who arrived at the scene shortly after the incident about 5pm.

"He's very lucky to be alive," Ms Keates said.

His list of injuries is extensive including a fractured pelvis, a punctured right lung and a torn aorta.

He was put into an induced coma at the scene before being airlifted to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital by CareFlight that afternoon.

Ms Keates said she didn't see her son wake up until Sunday.

Her daughter was taken to Ipswich Hospital that afternoon with neck and suspected spinal trauma.

She was released on Thursday and is still recovering from bruises the length of her body, and fears of driving in small cars.

Josh Watts during happier times. Photo Contributed
Josh Watts during happier times. Photo Contributed Contributed

The Laidley family has rallied around each other as they come to terms with Joshua's injuries and speculate as to what the future may bring.

"I'm a mess," Ms Keates said.

"I look at my son and he's not the same.

"He's gone from a fun-loving, joking kid always with a smile with the patience of a saint to this little boy…

"He has no memory of the accident and I've already told him twice."

Ms Keates has remained by Joshua's side for the past week as he recovers from emergency surgeries and is scheduled for more.

She has no idea when he will be released from hospital.

"The hospital basically said to me that we're in for a long road to recovery," she said.

"They're doing everything they can."

She has thanked the emergency services at the scene and one man in particular with whom she would like to make contact.

She said the man, wearing jeans and a high-visibility shirt, climbed into the wrecked car to comfort Joshua while he was cut out by emergency services.

As the family rallies, a fundraiser has been established by close family friend Heidi Blake to help reduce the financial strain on the family which has been left shattered by the incident.

Support for Joshua Watts

To contribute to the fund, visit