‘Life is a beautiful gift’ says pregnant Stevenage woman after terrifying A1(M) crash near Letchworth

Fire crews were first to get to Kelsey who was sat stranded on the hard shoulder on the A1(M)

Fire crews were first to get to Kelsey who was sat stranded on the hard shoulder on the A1(M) - Credit: Archant

A woman due to take a hospital pregnancy test hours later had to sit clutching the steering wheel of her crushed car for an hour as she waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Kelsey's Suzuki Alto after the collision

Kelsey's Suzuki Alto after the collision - Credit: Archant

Kelsey Donovan, 22, was driving on the A1(M) on her way to work at Stevenage’s Asda store when a gust of wind and the slipstream from a passing lorry sent her tiny car careering into the crash barrier.

The Suzuki Alto bounced off the metal buffer once, spun round 360 degrees and hit it again before Kelsey was able to grip the steering wheel, bring the car under control and get over to the hard shoulder.

Fire crews called to the scene after the 5.30am accident on the southbound carriageway near Junction 9 cut the seats out of the car and put Kelsey in a supporting brace to protect her neck, but they couldn’t move her until an ambulance arrived.

Kelsey – who lives in Stevenage but had stayed the previous night with her boyfriend in Biggleswade – said she could only think of her unborn baby as she gripped the wheel and waited.

Kelsey Donovan and her boyfriend Lee payne

Kelsey Donovan and her boyfriend Lee payne - Credit: Archant


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She said: “I was there in my tiny car overtaking a van, I was only going about 60mph. It was so windy I couldn’t believe it. The winds caught my car and blew me sideways and, as I tried to steer out of it, another gust of wind from a lorry blew me into the central reservation.

“I somehow managed to get my car onto the hard shoulder. I kept thinking: ‘Please, don’t anything happen to my baby’.”

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“It was dark and I was very grateful it wasn’t 7am or 8am as if a car had hit me it would have ended up a lot worse.”

Kelsey called her sister Courtenaye and brother Bryce on her mobile phone and they alerted the emergency services.

The damaged Suzuki Alto after the crash

The damaged Suzuki Alto after the crash - Credit: Archant

She said: “The amount of people who drove past me was unreal, but one man in a van stopped to ask me if I was OK and if I had a phone.

“I was gripping the steering wheel so tightly I couldn’t believe it.

“It just goes to show you don’t have to be driving fast for the wind to take you.”

Fortunately Kelsey escaped with just minor back and neck pain.

She and boyfriend Lee Payne lost a baby at 16 weeks last year after it was diagnosed with Edward’s Syndrome, but despite the crash the couple were able to make it to the Lister Hospital the same day for a lunch time scan which confirmed Kelsey is 10 weeks pregnant.

She said: “I might not have a car any more but my baby is still alive.

“I’m so relieved and grateful. I was more concerned about my baby than myself and I’ve never been so grateful for life.

“It’s just a beautiful gift and some people take it too much for granted.”

Kelsey is full of praise for the fire and ambulance crews and for the man who stopped to help her.

Crew commander Mark Puddick who was at the scene said: “It was a case of stabilising the lady, giving her oxygen and first aid and making sure she was safe and was ready to move, but we couldn’t move her until the ambulance arrived.

“She did extremely well to control the car and she is very lucky.

“We’re very pleased to hear she’s doing well and delighted that she is still pregnant.”

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