Announced dead after motorway smash … but look at me now! When Caroline collided with a lorry on the motorway and her car got wedged underneath she thought her time was up. Little did she know her nightmare had only just begun ...

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Caroline, 54, was on her way to see her mum for Easter when she joined a busy motorway.

Here, she noticed a lady in the outside lane shouting at her two young girls. They were playing in the back of the car with no seat belts on.

With the mum’s attention on her children, she failed to notice a lorry about to squeeze in infront of her.

Convinced there was about to be a serious accident – the woman wasn’t slowing down  Caroline made a split-second decision to accelerate and nudge the back of the lorry.

The lorry slowed, the woman sped off and Caroline was proud to have stopped a crash with just a little dent to show for it.

When the lorry picked up speed, though, Caroline’s relief turned to panic.

Caroline’s sports car got sucked underneath the lorry and got crushed at the front, trapping her leg between the steering wheel and driver’s seat.

Caroline’s car was stuck and the lorry, which was still moving, didn’t seem to notice.

What’s worse, Caroline was wedged next to the lorry’s spare fuel tank. It was leaking … and she could see sparks.

Caroline, a mum-of-six, accepted the fact she was going to die, either from her injuries or an explosion.

Her only relief was that youngest son Nick, 17, who she begged to join her for the trip, decided to stay at home with a friend. She promised she would be back the next day to make pancakes for breakfast.

Caroline called the police and asked them to send a simple parting message of ‘goodbye, I love you’ to her family.

The operator then told her that if she placed her feet on the pedals and hands on the wheel in the particular way, she may be able to dislodge the car. She warned it could break her ribs and tear her muscles, but that Caroline had ‘nothing else to lose’.

After a countdown, and having travelled 15 miles stuck under the lorry, Caroline followed the instructions. Amazingly, the car slipped free and landed back on the road.  Caroline remembers a feeling of euphoria. But she was far from safe.

After the car hit the ground, Caroline’s head slammed against the side window. The window smashed and Caroline’s neck snapped. The car then flipped several times before crashing into the motorway barrier.

Emergency services in the sky and on the ground made an assessment as to whether anyone could have survived. The answer was no. Caroline was considered dead.

In similar situations services would do no more, but a traffic police officer insisted they cut her out. He had a gut feeling.

They spent more than three hours trying to free Caroline from her crumpled car.

And then a further assessment didn’t look good – she was reading low on the Coma Scale, with no motor, eye or verbal response.

Caroline was given adrenaline, stabilised and taken to hospital where a series of tests revealed the extent of her injuries. She had broken her neck in two places, a fractured shoulder, teared biceps tendon, ruptured spleen, three broken ribs, bleeding on the brain and impaired vision and hearing.

Caroline was in a coma for two weeks before she defied initial assessments and pulled through. On the hospital ward, the lady next to her even commented that Caroline was ‘the lady they said was dead’.

Doctors soon operated on Caroline’s broken neck, fusing it together and inserting a titanium plate.

Back in one piece, Caroline started her long road to recovery. She had speech therapy – she couldn’t speak at first – and months of physio. Caroline even had cocaine in her eye to check for lasting damage caused by the brain bleed.

Now, two years later, Caroline is firmly back on her feet and barely shows any signs of the accident – something else that has amazed doctors.

Caroline’s even achieved the unthinkable by recently winning two titles in a national pageant contest. She’s gone from being ‘dead’ to knocking them dead!

Caroline says: ‘I always thought I loved life and appreciated everything around me, but it’s never been more true. I’ll never take anything for granted again.

‘I’m incredibly lucky and know that if something does go wrong there are people around to help.’

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