On Wednesday 11 of August, Paul Ballard was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to causing the death of 64 year old Eileen Haskell and 48 year old Richard Trezise. Ballard was driving under the influence of cocaine when his vehicle ploughed into the back of other vehicles at high speed causing a ten car pile up.
The horror smash took place last February and has left other motorists involved in the crash, still struggling to deal with what has happened.
Ashley from Harold Wood, was one of the survivors of the crash, he spoke exclusively to the Havering Daily about the nightmare impact it has had on his life since.
“I don’t really sleep anymore now. I fall asleep and then within hours I wake up. I wake up between eight to ten times a night. My bed sheets are ringing wet and I have to keep changing them. I have this suffocating feeling in the pit of my stomach and I feel like I can’t breath.
“My life has been turned upside down. I don’t know if I will ever be the same person again. I suffer with PTSD now, and I am struggling to get my old routine back and go to work as I used to.”
Ashley has had counselling sessions since the incident to help him deal with what he witnessed.
“I have tried a lot of different types of counselling to see if it can help. After the accident my GP told me that the waiting list to see a counsellor was very long and that I had to wait. It was thanks to my solicitor that I was able to find help.
“It is very hard to deal with and process what happened that day. A lot of the reports written are inaccurate and just written with out feeling or care. I read a recent report from a local paper here, that was totally inaccurate and I left a comment on their post as for the survivors like me, it really is shocking to read such rubbish.”
More than a year after the smash Ashley has not got his life back.
“It has changed my life and the life of others involved. I have panic attacks and suffer with anxiety. All the trauma that went on that day is really hard to deal with and to process mentally.
“We were the third car in front going to get some lunch at Ardleigh Green. We got hit from behind and the car behind us was directly hit by Ballard’s car.
“I remember hearing this awful smash sound. We landed up under a Range Rover.
“When I got out I was shocked and my head was bleeding I could feel the blood pouring down my face.
“I ran to the Ford Kuga to get the door open and I knew there was nothing I could do. I then ran to a Fiesta that was on its side and my mind was racing as I approached the vehicle wondering what I was going to see inside, but luckily the the passengers were shocked but seemed to be okay.
“Then I remember the screams coming from the bus stop, that was awful.”
Ashley actually remembers talking to Ballard after the smash.
“I went up to his car, the tinted windows were smashed and there was a young boy in the front that was his son. I spoke to him and told him his car had been involved in an accident and that he had to get out. He was incoherent, he wasn’t making any sense and just sat there.
“The rain was pouring down so the bus there was being used as a place to treat the injured. I was taken to hospital with a broken rib and had to have my head glued.
“I remember finding tinted broken glass in my trouser pockets, our car windows didn’t even smash so I don’t know to this day how it got there.”
After this horrific experience Ashley is now struggling to move on with his life.
“Three to four days after the smash I began to suffer with PTSD, I felt this really overwhelming feeling of sadness for the families involved. I really felt part of the end of their lives. The trauma is so hard to deal with. I never suffered with anxiety before this.
“I go and put flowers by the scene of the crash on a regular basis. It is the helplessness I struggle with the most.”