JCB workers tell of horrific road crash after their car hit a lorry on B5030
TWO friends say they are 'lucky to be alive' after a terrifying road crash as their car hit a lorry on the way to work.
JCB workers Brett Knapper and Mark Statham woke up in the twisted wreckage of their Volkswagen Golf after an HGV struck them almost head-on.
Driver Mark suffered cracked ribs, a broken wrist and crushed leg, while Brett was left with fractures to his spine, sternum and ribs.
The 41-year-old driver of the HGV escaped unhurt from the accident, which happened as the two friends made their way along the B5030 towards JCB's World HQ near Rocester.
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Today the pair have spoken for the first time of their ordeal, which left them feeling lucky to be alive.
Forty-eight-year-old Mark, of Monmouth Place, Clayton, described the collision as a 'blur'.
He said: "I remember the impact, it was sudden and loud. I woke up in the wreck of the car at the side of the road and my lip was torn right to my teeth.
"My mouth was full of blood. I tried to make sense of what was happening and I remember Brett saying that we shouldn't be alive.
"Fire officers cut Brett out of the car while I was taken to hospital. It was harrowing." The colleagues were taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, where doctors told them they were lucky to have escaped without life-threatening injuries.
Brett, aged 32, pictured below, lives in The Lea in Trentham and had been sharing the drive to work with Mark for several years.
The dad-of-two said: "I was in an enormous amount of pain. I had no idea what the extent of my injuries were – or if I was every going to be able to walk again.
"Mark's wife Tracy was already at the hospital but I asked her not to call my wife until we knew how bad it was.
"I didn't want to worry Sally or the kids. I knew they would be on the way to school.
"The doctors have told me as far as broken backs go, mine could have been much more serious.
"I'm so grateful to be alive and know I should eventually get back to normal."
The pair spent four days in hospital following the December 4 crash, but neither will be able to return to work for at least six weeks.
Their colleagues have clubbed together to donate £480 in cash to each of the men, who will only be paid 75 per cent of their salaries during their absence.
Mark said: "We're both so incredibly touched by the generosity and support.
"It's made me quite emotional to think that people have reached into their pockets to support us, when some of them will only know us to say hello to in the morning."
Brett added: "I can't express how thankful I am to everyone at JCB and our unions for their generosity. It has really moved me."
Mark's wife, Tracy, aged 33, said: "You never think it will be you who gets the call to say your husband has been in an accident. I thought they were going to tell me he was dead. It has been truly horrifying.
"But I've had so many phone calls, texts and visits from people who work with Mark and Brett. It has really made the difference."
Staffordshire police released an appeal for witnesses following the accident, and the force said a cyclist has been in touch. An investigation is continuing.