THE FAMILY that survived this A34 crash last night thanked the selfless people who put their lives in danger to help them.
Jeremy Orbell said he was ‘agog in admiration’ for the rescue services and about a dozen bystanders who helped him, his wife and their three young children when their car crashed into the central reservation.
Mr Orbell contacted the Oxford Mail after the crash that closed the A34 between Chilton and Harwell around 4.30pm last Friday.
The family – his wife Jo, and daughters Hannah, 12, Hollie, nine, and son Charlie, eight – were travelling back to Peterborough after a holiday in Weymouth.
Mr Orbell said: “We bounced across the carriageway, then rolled at least two or three times before coming to a stop.
“After we came to rest I remember the girls saying, ‘Where’s mum? Where’s mum?’ but because the car was on its side I’d lost all sense of where we were. For a terrible moment I thought she’d been thrown from the car but I was actually all but standing on her.
“By now other cars had stopped and I lifted my son up out through the smashed passenger window. The girls were able to get out through the back with some help.
“I tried to help my wife who was obviously upset but she was at least conscious.
“A passerby got me to come out while others steadied the car because of its precarious position.
“Panic set in when someone pointed out the considerable amount of petrol that was leaking. The man initially blocked it with his finger and the pipe was subsequently wrapped. The danger these people put themselves for our benefit was unbelievable.”
Mr Orbell said it took firefighters about 30 minutes to cut his wife free while his children were comforted by members of the public and medical professionals, some of whom were off duty.
He said: “Thinking about the crash now I can only remember one second segments. I hear the sounds of the smashing glass, I see the horror on our kids’ faces and the crunch of metal on Tarmac.
“It’s very vivid in my mind but it’s easier for me personally to cope with as we have come out relatively unscathed.
“I don’t mean to sound over- dramatic but we could have all died if that petrol had caught light, along with up to a half dozen other motorists who stopped to help.
“The police at the hospital and afterwards couldn’t do enough for us and made a difficult situation for us far easier and the medical staff were, of course fantastic too.
“The number of people who helped us since the incident to today has been amazing.
“All the emergency services were on the scene in next to no time and the police helicopters made sure that no chances were taken with our safety.
“As for the members of the public they were so brave to put themselves in danger like that for the sake of strangers – I am agog in admiration.
“I only wish I could thank everyone personally for all they did for us but if they want to contact us through the paper we would be delighted to hear from them.
“All in all, we are so thankful that no other vehicle was involved in the accident and are so very sorry to have disrupted so many people’s journey home that evening.”
- If you were one of the people who helped that day, call Oxford Mail reporter Amanda Williams on 01865 425426 or email the address above