Fears for unborn baby after crash

20:40, May 26 2014
Emily Short
SCARY TIME: Emily Short, 20, recovers in Christchurch Hospital after a ute collided head-on with her car. She is 11 weeks pregnant and fears for the health of her unborn child.

Emily Short has a fractured arm, broken leg and bruises all over after an alleged drink-driver crossed the centre line and hit her car.

However, she fears only for her unborn child.

The 20-year-old Christchurch woman, who is 11 weeks pregnant, faces a long recovery after the crash near the Lewis Pass summit last Tuesday.

She was driving to her grandparents' Westport home when she reached a blind bend on State Highway 7, near Patersons Creek, about 4.15pm. She cannot remember the impact, just the sight of a large, dark ute about to hit.

"I tried to brake. I had nowhere to go. He just headed straight for me," Short said.

Both vehicles were written off. The impact tore the driver's door off her Honda Logo.


The ute driver was uninjured.

Short, who was knocked unconscious, came to with her face in a pool of blood on the road.

Her body and legs were twisted over the driver's seat. A snapped femur protruded from her right leg.

Her first thought was for her baby. "I remember yelling and screaming," she said.

"I kept asking, ‘Is my baby going to be OK?'."

Police have charged a man in his 60s with dangerous driving causing injury and driving with excess breath alcohol.

Constable Josh Clauson said the man was headed to Christchurch after drinking in Reefton.

A breath-test at the scene showed he was more than twice the legal limit.

The ute may have been on the wrong side of the road before the impact, he said.

The driver would appear in the Christchurch District Court on June 18.

Short hopes to be able to walk again by then.

She was flown to Christchurch Hospital after the crash.

The metal rod inserted in her right leg will be permanent. She will need surgery for broken bones in her face, once she gives birth.

While her baby's heart is still beating, its prognosis is unclear.

She feared the effects of several X-rays.

"It seems to be OK but until the baby is born, they can't really say. I'm scared.

"I do care about this baby already. I'm excited about being a mother. I don't want that to be ripped from me."

To have the crash now was "terrible timing".

"I want to talk to him. What was he thinking? He could have killed a whole family."

Clauson was surprised Short survived the impact.

"She is very lucky and very tough," he said.

Anyone who saw the late model Mazda BP 50 ute driving between Reefton and the crash scene should phone the Culverden police station on (03) 315 3070.

The Press