Son tells of harrowing moment he was told mum, 72, was injured in bus crash

A son has opened up about the harrowing moment he was told his mum had been badly hurt in a collision with a bus.

Steve Powell, 47, was at his Sunderland home in December 2019 when he received the devastating news.

His mum, Arlene Powell, 72, had been in a serious accident and had been airlifted to hospital.

Steve said: “My mam is 72 years old and she’s only a tiny petite woman.

“She’s still independent though and very bus savvy. She can manage to go into Sunderland town for her shopping and whatnot.

““The night before her accident she had seen an advert on the television for half-price baubles in Sainsbury’s so the next day she got on the bus and made her way there.”

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Arlene was heading to Sainsbury’s in the Silksworth area when she was it hit by the bus.

Steve said: “It really was harrowing, and the events of the day will stay in my mind forever.

“I knew something was up straight away as I tried to ring my mam three times and she didn’t answer which really isn’t like her.”

A few days before the accident, Steve had attended a doctor’s appointment and was awaiting test results.

Steve Powell said the events of the day will stay in his mind forever

He said: “When my phone rang from an unknown caller, I thought it was the doctors calling with bad news, so I ignored it.

“Then a call came through from my mam’s phone.”

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But his mum was not on the line. Instead, it was a police officer with the news she had been badly injured.

Steve said: “When I answered the call, I immediately said ‘where the hell have you been, mother?’

“But it was a man’s voice on the line, a police officer, who told me she had been in an accident and had been airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

“I dropped the phone and ran to meet the police.”

When Steve arrived at the RVI, they told him she had suffered severe brain trauma.

He said: “She was placed in an induced coma and when she woke up, she had no idea about what had happened.

“The entire time she was in the coma I really thought she was going to die.”

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As well as head injuries, Arlene suffered 28 cracked ribs, a broken pelvis, an open leg fracture, a fractured shoulder blade and three fractured vertebrae.

On January 31, she returned home from the hospital.

Steve said: “It was the same day as my daughter’s birthday. It was like a miracle, we were all so emotional.

“I still get very emotional talking about it now.

“I really can’t thank the Great North Air Ambulance Service enough.

“They saved my mam’s life and I will be forever grateful to them for that.”

GNAAS is continuing to fly through the Covid-19 crisis but has asked the public to continue its support in the face of the collapse of the charity’s community fundraising activities.

Please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325 487263.

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