SPEED: Lives destroyed in seconds
A GROUP of mates is inside a car as it rips through the streets at high speed.
They are heading home after a night out - that is until the driver loses control and hits a power pole, which carves the vehicle in half.
Now one passenger is dead, the result of horrific injuries that shocked even experienced emergency crews.
This speed-related fatality in the Mackay district has stuck with Senior Sergeant Shane Edwards.
"It was quite confronting because the injuries sustained to the deceased person were quite significant," the Mackay Road Policing Unit officer in charge said.
"It has hit a power pole, which basically ripped the vehicle in half."
Mackay Base Hospital's Dr Bauke Hovinga has treated some gruesome injuries linked to speed-related crashes.
"I've seen people with nasty head injuries and quite significant brain damage afterwards, who don't recover fully," the Emergency Department's assistant clinical director said.
Traumatic head injuries can result in brain death or lifelong intellectual or physical impairments.
"Often they just don't survive (the crash)," Dr Hovinga said.
"Brain death is quite difficult for family to understand because … they look almost alive."
A sudden jolt by the seatbelt at force can rupture or rip apart internal organs, crack ribs and fracture the spine.
"Your aorta could rupture, but we often don't see that because they don't even make it to the hospital," Dr Hovinga said.
With speeding, Dr Hovinga said, "things can change within seconds".
"Drivers can speed 100 times and everything goes well, but you only need to have one accident to destroy the rest of your life," he said.
"And even if you survive … the whole recovery process could take years."