A devastated expectant mother lost her unborn baby in a horror car crash after she hit a pothole in the road.
Nicole Chahal, from Hildenborough, Kent was just weeks away from her due date at 34 weeks pregnant when she sustained a shattered pelvis, snapped femur and broken ribs, after her car flipped over and ploughed upside down into a tree.
She said: "It was traumatic, so bad mentally. I couldn’t get my head around it. I still can’t."
The 32-year-old was driving on a country road in Hildenborough in February when her vehicle was overturned.
She was rushed to hospital for an emergency Caesarean section – but tragically her baby boy was stillborn .
The mother-of-three explained: "That morning I dropped my children to school and then I bought my son’s pushchair – it was one of the last things I needed to get before he was born.
"The pushchair was in the car when I crashed. My husband said he had a bad feeling when I wasn’t replying to his messages and started to walk down the road.
"Then he heard the helicopter and saw the fire engines and ambulance.
"My car was completely wrapped around the tree, it was half the size."
Nicole had to be cut out of her car by emergency services and airlifted to a nearby hospital.
She said: "I don’t remember much but I have flashbacks. I remember being in the helicopter, being really cold and feeling really scared. I had no idea what had happened or where I was.
"The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital. There was a woman at the end of my bed and she said ‘I’m so sorry, but the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat’. I just started screaming."
Nicole was hospitalised for 11 weeks due to the severity of her injuries.
Nicole said: "I was in intensive care for three days and confined to bed for seven weeks because my pelvis just wasn’t healing.
"Now I’m learning how to walk again with a walking frame. My youngest didn’t even recognise me.
"I used to be happy and pregnant but had turned into a puffed up woman who wasn’t pregnant anymore."
Nicole and her husband Don, who sadly lost a brother to a motorcycle accident five years ago, are devestated.
They had even decided what they were going to call their unborn son – Arlo.
The pothole and icy conditions are believed to be major contributing factors in the accident and Nicole plans to take legal action against Kent County Council.
She said: "The police report says that they believe the ice and pothole were factors in the accident.
"I know the pothole, I remember dodging it all the time. But that morning I didn’t see it. There’s a drain on the road, that always pushes out water instead of taking it off the road.
"The man who found me said that day the drain was blasting out water. I think what happened was that the pothole was filled with ice and the wheel fell into it. It was minus 6C – unbelievably cold.
"The police said there was a chunk out of one of the hubcaps, which led them to believe it dipped into something."
Hildenborough residents have launched a petition to make the road safer in the wake of the tragedy.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: "We sympathise with residents regarding the incident earlier this year.
"As a local authority we have to make tough decisions on where to make changes to roads across Kent.
"Subsequent investigations on Nizels Lane found no defects on the road and there have been no previous incidents prior to February 8.
"It is important to note that we have to be able to directly mitigate against crashes through engineering.
"KCC has to prioritise its remedial works where specific mitigating schemes have been identified to solve a particular road safety matter."
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