‘Absolute miracle’ teenager survived Funtington crash

The crash scene
The crash scene
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Hannah Paice is alive today after this horrific smash – because she didn’t fasten her seatbelt.

And her father says it is an ‘absolute miracle’ she has made a full recovery.

Doctors have said the neck fracture Hannah Paice suffered in the crash could have been fatal, but amazingly the 18-year-old is already back on her feet.

When Hannah crashed her car on the Funtington straight, her car rolled and hit two trees – one of which impaled the car where the driver’s seat was.

But because she was not wearing a seatbelt, she was thrown out of the back of the car.

Ironically, Mr Paice said his last words to Hannah before the accident were about wearing her seatbelt.

“If she had been wearing her seatbelt, the tree would have hit her from the waist down.

“The tree goes all the way through the car,” he said.

“The matter of wearing a seatbelt is one of the big arguments I have had with her, but in this case her being stubborn has saved her life.”

However, Mr Paice added: “It is a proven fact that wearing a seatbelt saves about 90 per cent of people’s lives in accidents.

“This is just a one-off. They are there for a reason.”

Speaking of the ordeal, Hannah said: “I am very lucky. I am going to live life to the fullest now.

“My friends are calling me ‘Frankie’ because of the bolts I had in my head and neck.

“I just want to leave it behind now and go back to normal. I am hoping to move abroad and go travelling.”

In the evening of April 7, Hannah left work at Ask in East Street, Chichester, and drove on the Funtington straight.

She cannot remember the details leading up to the accident, which took place near Oakwood School, but her car rolled and crashed into to trees.

Unbelievably she woke up beside the wreckage and walked into some nearby woods to find help.

She broke down as she could not find anyone, but fortunately a motorist had seen the wreckage and called an ambulance.

Hannah, of Williams Road, was taken to St Richard’s Hospital where she had a CT scan. She was transferred the next day to Southampton General Hospital’s head injuries unit.

Mr Paice said: “Doctors said they have never in all their years seen a breakage that close.

“They told her she should not be alive.”

She had instruments implanted in her skull, called a ‘halo’, to help the fracture in her neck recover. Mr Paice said they had ‘the god of surgeons’ travel to Southampton to look at Hannah and help her to make a full recovery.

*Inspector Phil Nicholas of the raod policing unit at Chichester said as well as being the law to wear a seatbelt when driving, it is also proven to save lives.