A woman who says she is lucky to be alive today relived the terrifying moment she realised a seven-year-old girl had been flung from her car following a horrific motorway smash.
Tracy Jenkinson was driving home to St Annes with her children Charlie and Chelsea Piggot and her partner’s daughter Ysabelle Amos on Sunday when her tyre blew out, causing her to lose control of the car.
After wobbling in the outside lane of the M55, the car hit the central reservation, shattering the back window and sending the car into a spin.
Ms Jenkinson, 42, was able to get the car on to the hard shoulder – miraculously without hitting any other cars – and brought it to a halt.
When she turned to check on the children in the back, she realised one was missing.
“The kids were screaming Ysabelle’s name and really panicking,” she said.
“I looked around and just saw her pop up between the barriers of the central reservation.
“She was stood where she was safe.
“Some of the drivers who had stopped on the motorway brought her across the lanes, and she didn’t have a scratch on her.”
In fact none of the children were hurt, other than minor cuts and bruises, and Ms Jenkinson herself suffered only a bruised elbow.
But the motorway was shut in both directions at around 6pm as the North West Air Ambulance landed on the carriageway close to Junction 3 at Kirkham to take Ysabelle to Alder Hey Hospital, as reported in The Gazette on Monday.
Charlie, nine, and Chelsea, eight, were taken to Royal Preston Hospital and later transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital.
All three were allowed home on Monday.
Ms Jenkinson, owner of salon Love Beauty in St Annes, said: “When we set off all three children were in the back and had their seat belts on.
“Ysabelle doesn’t know what happened and how she came to be outside the car, but I think she must have panicked and took her seatbelt off as the car started to shake.
“As we hit the central reservation and the back window came out she went through it.
“After that the car was all over the place. I was trying to slow but the breaks weren’t working as well as they should have. I remember thinking ‘we’re not going to survive this’. I asked the angels to look after the children; I didn’t care if I made it, as long as they were safe.”
Ms Jenkinson, of Highbury Road East, said as scared as she was, she had to keep calm for the children.
“I was really scared at first, but I realised I had to get through it for the children and just kept my wits about me,” she said. “We’re all just so grateful for our lives. It’s an absolute miracle that we survived.”
Ms Jenkinson said the car, a Daewoo Matiz, was a write-off, but said there were more important things to worry about.
She added: “It’s just material. It’s nothing compared to the lives of those three children. The angels were definitely looking over us.”