Friends speak of their terror as motorbike smashes through back door of car on A66

Derek Thoms and Christine Strong.

Two friends have spoken of the moment their lives were thrown into jeopardy after their motorbike smashed through the back door of a car.

Friends Derek Thoms, 56, and Christine Strong, 58, from Sunderland were on their way home from a drive out when a car pulled out of a junction on the A66 in July last year.

The motorbike smashed through the car’s back door glass, throwing the pair forwards and into the back of the car.

Mr Thoms said: “We were heading back over the A66 which was really busy. I tapped Christine’s leg to make sure she was ok and that’s the last thing I remember.”

Mr Thoms suffered a crushed pelvis and right hand, lost the use of his right leg, a broken nose, facial scarring and a double hernia as well as losing his teeth.

Miss Strong was on life support for two weeks, shattered her pelvis, suffered a major head injury and had eight bolts in her back and a rod in her spine.

Miss Strong said: “I remember sitting on the back of Derek’s bike, him revving the engine and then I woke up in James Cook University Hospital. I have days where all I want to do is cry but I have to be strong.”

Since the accident on the trans-Pennine route near Barnard Castle, the pair have been told that when emergency services arrived, they thought the incident was fatal and that neither of them would have survived.

Miss Strong said: “I remember waking up in hospital and seeing the pattern on the ceiling and thinking, ‘where am I?’. Life has changed forever, and I can’t do the things I could do before.”

One day, Miss Strong hopes to get on the back of a motorbike again and said she certainly doesn’t feel nearly 60-years-old.

Mr Thoms said: “We have a long road ahead of us, but we joke on that the teeth I lost in the accident were looking for her glasses which were found on the back seat of the car.

“I’ve lost everything through this accident but GNAAS is worth its weight in gold, so god bless them all.”

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