A mum who was lucky to escape with her life after a horror crash on the A14 has issued heartfelt thanks to the emergency services and medical teams who helped her survive.
Katrina Taylor, 34, was driving along the dual carriageway at about midday on April 29 last year when her car hit a patch of standing water and aquaplaned into the central barrier at about 50mph.
Miss Taylor said she remembers the accident, which left her with severe facial and head injuries, vividly and she was conscious during the two-hour rescue by firefighters.
Passers-by also stopped to help and two, Birmingham man Richard Darlington and Corby man Lee Reid, remained with her and reassured her throughout the ordeal.
The smash resulted in cables from the central barrier smashing Miss Taylor’s windscreen and striking her in the face.
One cable smashed into her mouth, removing several teeth and breaking her palate, the roof of her mouth, in two. Another cable broke the bones of her nose into several pieces, broke both cheekbones and damaged her left eye socket – meaning she has lost the sight in that eye.
Three days after the crash surgeon Peter Stockton fitted titanium plates into her jaw and skull to repair some of the damage.
He said if the cables had struck her neck they may have severed Miss Taylor’s head.
Almost a year on, Miss Taylor, who lives at The Grange in Desborough, said she has had time to reflect on the accident which almost cost the mum-of-four her life.
She said: “I have done my best to stay in touch with everyone who helped me, the ambulance crew, green watch at Kettering Fire Station, the critical care nurse at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry and my surgeon, Dr Peter Stockton, who has helped rebuild my face.
“All of them have been truly brilliant, as were Richard and Lee, who stopped at the time.”
After the crash, Miss Taylor invited the green watch fire crew along to Mawsley Day Nursery, which she owns, to meet the children.
The firefighters told her they assumed the accident would have killed her when they arrived.
Miss Taylor added: “They said by rights I should have lost my head and PC Peter West, who was one of the officers at the scene, said he thought I was going to die.”
She added that the recovery process has been slow, although she cut short her initial stay in hospital, which included being in an induced coma for three days, so she could return home to be with her four sons.
She added: “I had to discharge myself from hospital after 10 days. I have four sons, Alfie, nine, Arthur, six, Arnold, three, and Albert, two, and even though I was still recovering I had to look after them.”
Facial surgeon Peter Stockton, who is based at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, said the seriousness of Miss Taylor’s injuries were at the ‘upper end’ of the spectrum he had seen.
Since then she has gone through three operations to slowly rebuild her face.
Among the procedures was one to remove all of her teeth – she now has a full set of dentures.
There is still a chance she will need more surgery, as the head trauma she sustained has affected her hearing, but Miss Taylor has been told the surgery could result in permanent damage to her nose.