The Chirk horror crash that changed family’s lives forever

By Daniel Morris | Chirk | Features | Published:

A mother says she is trying to rebuild her her life following a horror crash that left her with life-changing injuries.

Caroline Franks with son Ollie, who survived a horrific head-on crash

Caroline Franks, from Glyn Ceiriog, near Chirk, was involved in a head-on collision in 2018 when she was returning after enjoying a family meal with her son, her former partner and his mother.

A van came around a corner on the wrong side of the road and into the path of their car which was being driven by her partner.

Former care worker Caroline, 60, said: “We had been for a family meal and were driving home through Chirk at around 8.30pm.

“I was in the passenger seat, my son, Ollie, who was at university at the time, was sat behind the driver’s seat alongside my former partner’s mum who was directly behind me.

“We were near the garden centre in Chirk when I saw a van. He was going too fast and although it was only a split second it seemed to go in slow motion. I knew he was going to hit us. My then partner had no chance of avoiding him.

“The impact left me with life-changing injuries, my partner’s mum was flown to Stoke with massive injuries, which she died of two weeks later.

“My son had abdominal bruising but escaped serious injury while my partner escaped relatively unhurt.”

She added: “Following the crash I had internal abdominal bleeding and had a lump the size of a rugby ball in my abdomen. I was operated on at Wrexham. The worst injury as it turns out was to my left foot which was totally smashed.


“I can now walk but have a permanent limp and was due to go back to Wrexham to discuss with the consultant whether I should have a further operation to fuse my ankle into a set position but the pandemic means that’s on hold. That might help with the constant pain and my inability to stand for long periods.


"My foot is already held together by screws and pins and I’m not really sure whether I can face another operation.

“Ollie has recovered physically but mentally it’s more difficult. He is still very nervous about getting in a car and will avoid doing so if he can.”


Caroline said that after the crash she was left in a wheelchair and split with her partner but was then left not knowing what was happening over the crash. The van driver was jailed for four years.

She was struggling to come to terms with what happened until she received support from Brake, a road safety charity that receives funding from the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.

“I was hearing nothing and was diagnosed by my GP as suffering from depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My GP arranged for me to have counselling but it’s after I contacted Brake that I got most help over the crash,” said Caroline.

“I called them and they got the police to talk to me. The police were speaking to my former partner as he was the driver but he wasn’t telling me what was going on. I needed to know what was happening. Brake kept in touch and helped me.

“It’s pointless being angry, you just have to let it go. I’m now unable to do the carer work I was doing as I can’t stand for long periods and I’m working for a friend just doing 10 hours a week clerical work for her business.

“I’ve always been a cautious driver but even more so now. I hate driving and being in a car but living in a rural area I’ve little choice. It was an awful experience and I’m still suffering physically now but things are easier.”

Daniel Morris

By Daniel Morris
Features Writer and Sub Editor - @DanMorrisWriter

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