Survivor of Acle Straight horror crash thanks strangers who saved his life
PUBLISHED: 09:20 17 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:20 17 July 2015
Archant Norfolk © 2015
When police officers knocked on her door at midnight, Cheryl Chipperfield knew something was wrong.
Then she heard the words ‘Your husband has been in an accident on the Acle Straight’.
On May 23, life changed for Paul and Cheryl Chipperfield. At 9pm, 53-year-old Mr Chipperfield had been driving along the A47 straight, on his way to work as a shuttle bus driver at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Norwich, when he was involved in a collision.
His car landed upside in a water-filled ditch and his leg was crushed. He was trapped and drowning.
Three passers-by managed to pull him out of the car and, from that moment on, a succession of strangers worked around the clock to keep him alive.
Speaking from their home in Gorleston, the Chipperfield’s tried to put into words the thanks and gratitude they felt for every single person who had helped over the past two months.
“They are heroes and we will be forever in their debt,” said Mrs Chipperfield, 50.
“They saved more than one life that evening, they saved an entire family and we thank them sincerely.”
Mr Chipperfield, who travelled the Acle Straight several times a day as a bus driver for First, spent two weeks in critical care.
He suffered bruising to his brain, shoulder muscle injuries, wrist fractures, broken ribs, broken back bones, a broken femur and a broken tibia.
His right leg was, he said, “mush”. and he’s undergone major surgery. He also had a pacemaker fitted but is slowly recovering.
“To look at me now, you’d see a broken leg and think ‘is that it?’,” he said.
Mr Chipperfield can’t remember anything about the crash, which is still being investigated by police.
The last thing he recalls is going to Pets at Home that afternoon. It had been a normal Saturday for the couple, with the added excitement of knowing they were about to adopt a dog.
They had been to the Dog’s Trust that morning and popped into the pet shop on their way home, ready to collect their four-legged friend a few days later. Mr Chipperfield went to bed early, knowing he’d be working through the night.
The next thing he can remember is waking up, terrified, as medics checked on his recently-fitted pacemaker.
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