A mum who suffered spinal injuries in a horror crash – which also injured her young sons and best friend – has spoken of her ordeal for the first time.
Claire Taylor was knocked unconscious when the Vauxhall Corsa she was a passenger in was in collision with a Mitsubishi Outlander in Manchester Road, Cowlersley back in February.
She came round to see the car’s engine billowing with smoke and “screams and cries” from her best friend and two young boys.
Claire recalls: “I woke up and there was smoke coming from the engine. My friend Jonathan and the boys were crying. There was debris in the road. I didn’t know what was going on. It was carnage.
“I was struggling to stay awake but a firefighter was talking to me. I just kept thinking of my boys and telling myself they needed me alive.”
It is believed the force of the crash sent her friend’s Corsa into a full 360 degree spin before it ploughed into a garden wall.
Firefighters were forced to cut the roof off the Corsa to free them from the wreckage.
Fortunately everyone survived the crash but they have faced months of recovery since the smash on February 19.
Her sons Mason, 10, and eight-year-old Elliott both suffered broken collar bones and the driver, her friend Jonathan Evans, also suffered serious injuries.
She said: “I’ve seen pictures of our car wreck since and if I’d seen those in the newspaper I would have said, ‘They’d be dead’.
The Linthwaite mum-of-two was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and underwent spinal surgery.
She said: “My spine shattered and was putting pressure on my spinal cord. I had spinal fusion surgery and I now have screws and rods in my spine.
“Before I had the surgery I was told the risks were paralysis and blindness.
“I had to take the risk as I’ve got two children to look after and didn’t think I could do that as well in a wheelchair. I was relieved to hear it went okay, and I was able to walk on the ward within a few days of the surgery.”
But Claire is still haunted by what happened that day and says she is in pain doing everyday tasks but it has given her a more positive outlook on life in general.
She added: “It’s changed my life, I’m so lucky to be alive. You’ve got to live your life now as in one single split second it could all be taken away from you.”
West Yorkshire Police are investigating the cause of the crash which happened on February 19.
A 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and released pending further inquiries.