Smash victim tells of horror impact

Ficra Udale
Ficra Udale
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A woman who was horrifically injured when a reckless driver ploughed into her and her friend has spoken of the terrifying moment she woke up in hospital.

Jessica Gray had been to see her friend Maz Graham DJing in Blackpool on the Friday before May Day, and the pair spent the night and early hours in the town.

At the end of their night they were on their way to a nearby takeaway, and that’s the last thing Jessica, 22, remembers before a car without headlights on careered into them on Abingdon Street.

“I don’t remember seeing or hearing a car, and Maz doesn’t either,” she said.

“I came around a little bit in the ambulance, but I didn’t wake up properly until I was in hospital. We were both in shock.

“I just remember waking up and seeing my mum and dad in the hospital and I was hysterical. I’d asked the paramedics if I was going to be OK and they said they weren’t sure.

“I was head to toe in pain.”

In hospital, doctors said Jessica’s injuries were so severe she needed surgery straight away.

Her leg was broken so badly surgeons needed to insert a metal rod in to help fix it, while surgery was needed to repair tendons in her arm.

She also had a large cut to her head which required plastic surgery.

Jessica, a school support assistant, spent 10 days at Royal Preston Hospital and returned to her home in Layton on her birthday. She said: “As bad as my legs and arms were, and still are, it was my face that upset me the most. At first, all the right side of my was scabbed over. It was horrible and I couldn’t look at it.

“It’s healing well though, and now I just have a few scars.”

But eight weeks on, Jessica says she is still self-conscious and relies on a wheelchair and walking frame to get around.

She returned to hospital two weeks ago for an x-ray on her leg, when doctors told her it had not healed as well as they’d hoped and she still can’t bear weight on it.

“I am quite an independent person and don’t like to rely on other people,” she said.

“What happened still doesn’t feel real, but I’m waiting for my body to get better.”

Jessica said Maz, 26, was able to walk away from the crash, which happened at around 4am.

She added: “At the time I think she felt guilty about how injured I was, when she came off lightly.”

Driver ‘under influence of drink and drugs’

Ficra Udale, 22, of Burnage, Manchester, is serving a three-year prison sentence for crashing into Jessica and Maz.

Udale pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, failing to provide a breath sample and not having insurance. The judge said it was likely the driver was under the influence of drink and drugs at the time.

Witnesses described how he was driving at 50mph.

Jessica was at Preston Crown Court on June 25 for the sentencing.

She said: “It was emotional seeing him sent down for what he did to me.”