Alan Holmes, killed 20 December 1995
If only on that fateful day, Saturday 20 December 1995, had we been five minutes later – or earlier – then our horrific crash may never have happened.
My husband and I had been Christmas shopping near Oxford, and were returning to Northamptonshire along the A43. We were stationary, behind the line of traffic that had stopped, when a left-handed driven vehicle hit us in the rear of the car.
Unfortunately, instead of us being pushed into the car in front, we went over to the right and in front of a 35-ton lorry – travelling at about 50miles an hour. The lorry went over the top of our car, removing the car roof and engine, before it finally ended up a tree.
Alan was killed instantly, his body fragmented.
It took one and a half hours for the rescue team to release me. I was then airlifted to the Jonathan Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
I owe my life to the police, air crew and hospital, for which I am extremely grateful.
My injuries consisted of:
1. Cuts in my scalp; my forehead was scarred and my nose was broken. I sustained a hole in the right side of my cheek (you could put your fist in).
2. My eyelid on the right side was ripped open.
3. My neck was broken.
4. I sustained a fractured sternum, together with ribs damaging my lungs.
5. There was a lump in the left breast due to seat belt entrapment.
6. My right knee-cap was fractured and my right leg ripped and badly scarred, my right foot was fractured.
7. Six pints of blood were given to me during the rescue.
8. I was placed on a life support machine and spent eight hours in the Operating Theatre, leaving hospital four weeks later.
My biggest regret is that due to my medical state, I was unable to attend the inquest of my husband, as well as the court case against the driver – in the Magistrates Court.
The driver was fined £140 and had points put on his driving licence. Yet he had killed my husband and has, consequently, ruined my life.
The insurance company did not pay the damages for four and a half years. I had to prove my injuries, paying privately for all medical examinations.
My daughter, Caroline, had a nervous breakdown due to her father’s death.
It is now eight years since that day, and I feel I have aged 100 years.
My life now cannot be how it used to be. I cannot bear to look at my face and I have pain when I walk. But then I am luckier than Alan – at least I can see my grandchildren.
He is missed so much; I feel that my life also ended that fateful day.”
Colleen Holmes, Alan's wife.
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