Sunday, January 6, 2008

Village in shock as young mother dies saving her daughter

Village in shock as young mother dies saving her daughter.(News)

A mother crushed to death by a runaway trailer in front of her two daughters pushed the younger child out of danger moments before she was hit, a retired nurse who comforted the girls said yesterday.

Miss Wendy Smith, aged 33, of Leaside, Halton Lea Gate, Northumberland, was struck by the mobile toilet trailer as she walked to the village shop with her children.

She is thought to have saved four-year-old Chelcie by pushing her out of the path of the three-ton trailer.

Her other daughter Nicola, aged ten, was walking further along the pavement.

Police said the trailer somehow became uncoupled from the Atkinson lorry towing it.

It mounted the narrow pavement smashing into Miss Smith before demolishing part of a stone wall and finally coming to a halt after hitting a telegraph pole.

Miss Smith suffered serious head injuries and died later in Cumbria Infirmary, Carlisle.

The small community in the remote hamlet, situated deep in the Northumberland moors, was still in shock after the tragic incident on Tuesday afternoon.

Semi-retired nurse Mr Jim McHugh, aged 54, who rushed from his home after hearing the accident, said: "I realised that she stood no chance.

"She was in a terrible state and must have been hit hard.

"The portable toilet was on four wheels like a caravan and must have somehow come loose.

"Her eldest daughter had gone on ahead but she must have pushed the youngest one out of the way and took the full force herself.

"I didn't want the children to see their mum die on a roadside, I did all I could before the ambulance arrived, but she was in a very bad condition with severe head injuries.

"It is a tragedy. Another foot either way and it would have missed her. This is a small place and this has affected people badly.

"That a young mother who you know can be gone so quickly is hard to understand."

Mr Bob Habbick, aged 42, who lives opposite the accident scene, said: "I heard a clatter but never imagined it would result in something as awful as this.

"With only 200 to 300 people living here it is a close-knit community where you know most people by sight

"The whole village is shocked."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "An investigation has been launched into this tragic accident and we appeal to anyone who saw the incident or the events leading up to it to contact us."

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