Crash survivor Sheila: ‘They saved my arm'

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

A WOMAN who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash has been reunited with two of her rescuers.

Sheila Petrie, 47, believes she probably owes her life, and definitely her arm to three workmen who came to her aid after her car was flipped on to its side in an accident.

Her right arm was crushed beneath the full weight of her Mitsubishi Shogun when it went over after clipping another vehicle.

Her arm was so badly injured doctors said it was a miracle it was saved. Youth worker Sheila claims it was only possible thanks to the quick-fire reactions of passing workmen Bryn Cartledge, Sam Connor and Kalvin Riley, who were first on the scene.

The trio, who work for Holywell building firm Bushmede Ltd, lifted the car back into an upright position and comforted Sheila while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

Sheila said: “It all happened in slow motion and I just remember thinking I’ve got to make it to my son’s wedding. Then the car was on its side and my arm was trapped between the car and the road.

“I heard voices and I just kept screaming ‘I’m stuck, lift the car’. Once the lads started to lift I had to pick my arm up with my other hand because it was so damaged.

“When I went into surgery later I really didn’t think I was going to wake up with an arm there.”

The accident happened on Fron Park Road, near Holywell Leisure Centre, on May 19 and firefighters had to cut off the roof of Sheila’s car in order to release her.

She suffered 80 per cent tissue loss and a completely shattered elbow and has already had three operations.

She still wears a metal brace and pin structure to hold her bones in position while they fuse. She is also awaiting further nerve and skin grafts and doctors may have to pin her elbow joint into a fixed position. Infection is also a permanent threat to recovery.

But Sheila, from Carmel, near Holywell, made it to her son Craig’s wedding just two weeks later with husband Mel and daughter Jennifer, and was delighted to meet her rescuers this week.

She added: “It’s thanks to them I’m sitting here with my arm. I dread to think where I’d be without them. And if I’d been going any faster I don’t think I’d be here at all.”

Bryn, who was a fireman for seven and a half years, spoke of the group’s heroics with modesty.

He said: “I’m so glad Sheila’s all right. The accident was really bad, believe me, it was frightening to see, but we just did what we had to do and we’d have done it for anybody.”

See full story in the Leader

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