Text crash causes women much pain
After surviving a horrific crash days before Christmas two Tokoroa women want to push home the message that texting while driving is a deadly mix.
Sisters Jade, 24, and Renee Beale, 19, and friend Arianna Ashworth, 20, were all seriously injured when a vehicle crossed the centre line and crashed into their car sending it into a spin.
All three woman suffered horrendous injuries and the driver of the other vehicle, Paula Adele Jessep, died at the scene.
Police said initial investigations showed Ms Jessep was having a text conversation on her mobile phone when the accident happened on State Highway 1, north of Tirau near Pairere on December 22.
Speaking at their Grampian St address, Jade and Renee recalled the minutes leading up to the crash. ‘‘We were on our way back home from Christmas shopping in Hamilton,’’ Jade said. ‘‘Renee was driving and I had swapped seats with Ari. I was tired so she jumped in the front passenger seat and I hopped in the back, I dozed off and woke up just after the crash had happened.’’
Renee described what happened seconds before the impact. ‘‘ It happened around 10pm, it was pouring down with rain, you could barely see. I considered stopping because it got so bad, then I saw the car in front of me swerve. I thought they were avoiding a pot hole so I began to swerve and then I saw the headlights directly in front of me. I don’t remember the crash but I remember waking up in the car and getting wet from the rain pouring in from the broken windows.’’
The girls credit a man only known as the ‘‘bread man’’ for helping them straight after the crash happened. ‘‘We were in the car and this man talked to us until help arrived. He spoke to our parents on the phone and genuinely put as at ease,’’ Jade said.
Eventually the three women were transferred to Waikato Hospital. Jade had 10 broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken sternum and collarbone, fluid around her heart and lung, and a laceration from her seat belt. The force of the crash caused internal bleeding and her small bowel had to be removed. Renee suffered a broken collarbone, sternum and rib. Her left leg was shattered requiring knee reconstruction surgery and there was a big gash to her right leg. She had reconstruction surgery for her nose which was broken in the crash. Arianna received severe lacerations to her face requiring surgery to remove glass that was lodged in it.
Jade, who was due to fly to Thailand on December 27 then from there to England where she planned on living, holds no ill feel- ing toward Ms Jessep. ‘‘We aren’t angry we just wonder why she would text considering the extreme rain we were driving in,’’ Jade said. ‘‘I found out she had a 16-year-old son so I emailed him my condolences and told him if he ever needed to talk I’m here. He lost his mum that night, I can’t imagine what that would be like.’’
Jade and Renee want drivers to be aware of the consequences when texting and driving.
‘‘A few seconds of inattention causes widespread pain throughout a community. Ms Jessep’s son has lost a mother, our lives have been halted, all our families have been affected,’’ Renee said.
Arianna has now returned to work as a dairy farmer in Norsewood. Renee is waiting to see whether she can finish her interior design degree at Wintec and Jade is looking at taking art therapy.
LUCKY ESCAPE: Arianna Ashworth, Jade and Renee Beale feel someone was watching over them when they survived a horrendous crash on December 22.