Accident blackspot survivor in Cornwall road safety warning
A TEENAGER whose life was saved by heroic passing motorists has urged council bosses to make improvements to an accident blackspot where she nearly died on Christmas Eve.
Unconscious and left trapped in a car that was sinking into floodwater, carer Dannie Phillips' life was saved only after passers-by spotted her wrecked car on the side of Par Moor Road.
The 19-year-old's car had aquaplaned on the flooded road and then flipped as she swerved to avoid an oncoming car.
It landed in more than three feet of water and began to sink into the quagmire as she lay unconscious at the wheel.
She said there was no doubt she would have died if it weren't for the kind-hearted and heroic deeds of passing drivers.
"I woke up after the car landed. The water was rushing in through the window and I couldn't keep my head above it," she said.
"I remember thinking, 'This is it now; if I panic I'm just going to use up more oxygen', and I blacked out again," she said.
Mike Tate, a passenger in the car she had narrowly avoided, rushed to the crash scene.
He said he and people from other nearby cars desperately tried to aid her, but the horn was blaring, it was pitch- black and they couldn't wrench the door open.
At that moment a trained paramedic appeared on the scene. Lizzie Wheatcroft had only popped out to collect her pizza order, because the shop wouldn't let her use her NHS discount over the phone.
She fearlessly crawled into the upside-down car, wrapped Miss Phillips' hair round her wrist and held her head above the filthy floodwater.
"She wasn't breathing. Someone shone a mobile phone light on her face and I saw she was blue. I honestly thought she was dead," said Mrs Wheatcroft, 45, from Tywardreath.
She told her husband to thump Miss Phillips' chest in an attempt to resuscitate her.
"All of a sudden she stared straight at me and I knew she was fine," she said. "I've never felt relief like it."
Meanwhile the team of good Samaritans held the car to stop it sinking further into the swamp.
The emergency services were soon on the scene and managed to extract Miss Phillips from the wreckage.
She was airlifted to Derriford Hospital where she had stitches but, miraculously, she had not broken a single bone.
Miss Phillips celebrated her 19th birthday on January 2, and it became a joint celebration of the fact that she is still alive.
She has decided to train as a nurse after the horrific incident and is hoping to start her course in September.
She is also now calling for more precautions to prevent similar incidents on Par Moor Road.
The accident happened close to the spot where 16-year-old Rosie Allen was killed in January 2010 when her moped collided with a car.
"I don't want this to happen to anyone else ever again," said Miss Phillips, from Trelowth, near Polgooth. "Par had been horrendous and they had weeks to put flood signs up."
Her family, and people involved in the incident, are calling for more preventative measures such as reflective bollards, lighting or signs.
"Darkness gives a false sense of security," said Mrs Wheatcroft. "To me, the most important thing is lighting on that road."
Since the incident Miss Phillips' mum Loraine Hoar, 43, has made it her mission to find, personally thank and reward every person who helped save her daughter's life on that night.
"If I could have picked a rescue team, I wouldn't have changed any of them. It was amazing how many people were there in those horrible conditions on Christmas Eve. All perfect strangers, they just jumped into the swamp, even in their finery. I call them my angels," she said. "It was the best Christmas present I've ever had – a miracle."