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Mother describes horror after lorry smashed into car with her baby inside

PUBLISHED: 07:46 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:36 27 February 2019

Keira O’'Donoughoe with son Freddie and Florence. Picture: Keira O’Donoughoe

Keira O’'Donoughoe with son Freddie and Florence. Picture: Keira O’Donoughoe

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A mother has described the terrifying moment she watched a lorry crash into her car – with her one-year-old baby still inside.

Keira O’Donoughoe says the only reason her child was unharmed was because of a child seat. Picture: Keira O’Donoughoe with son Freddie and Elsa. Picture: Keira O’DonoughoeKeira O’Donoughoe says the only reason her child was unharmed was because of a child seat. Picture: Keira O’Donoughoe with son Freddie and Elsa. Picture: Keira O’Donoughoe

Keira O’Donoughoe, 24, of Cranworth Gardens in Norwich, had travelled to Wales with her partner Cameron Russell, 21, and baby Elsa Mae Sofia Russell to buy a pony for their four-year-old Florence, who had dreamed of starting riding lessons.

The couple own a farm in Loddon and decided to own the pony rather than take their youngster to a riding school.

On the way back to Norwich their 4x4 had a fuel leak, and they pulled onto the hard shoulder on the M5 near Worcester.

Friends Chelsea Lemmon, 24, and Alex Goulding, 31, met the family and attempted to tow the vehicle but the rope snapped. Miss O’Donoughoe went to the back of the car to find something more sturdy, but as she did a lorry hit the horse box and the back of the car.

Cameron Russell with baby Elsa. Picture: Keria O'DonoughoeCameron Russell with baby Elsa. Picture: Keria O'Donoughoe

The pony was killed instantly and Miss O’Donoughoe was thrown into a fence, smashing her left knee. Mr Russell broke his leg and Ms Lemmon and Mr Goulding were left bruised.

When Miss O’Donoughoe came round, she instantly thought of her baby who was in the front – in a car seat.

She said: “The whole back of the car shredded in bits and all of us were thrown.

“I was really in shock. I wasn’t thinking about myself, I was thinking about the others and my baby.

“I couldn’t believe what happened, it still keeps going through my head, I have nightmares.

“Amazingly she had only suffered bruising, it just goes to show how safe the car seat was.”

Miss O’Donoughoe had a knee replacement on Monday at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital and will have to undergo 10 weeks of physiotherapy.

The security guard said the M5 was closed for seven hours and if it was not for the car seat her baby would have died.

She said: “I would rather have a broken leg than lose my child.

“I never thought I would be in a situation like this, in such a bad crash and then in hospital for so long.

“I drive past so many parents that don’t have their children in a child seat.

“They need to protect their children and if that means paying a little bit more they should do it.

“That’s your child, are you really going to put a price on your own baby’s life?”

Police are investigating the crash.

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