St Albans coucple’s dream wedding after horrific accident

NEAR tragedy turned into joy for a St Albans couple when they married on a foreign beach just over a year after being involved in a serious motorway accident.

Caroline Wareing and Anthony Fletcher, who are both police officers, finally tied the knot on Anna Maria Island off the west coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico in late October.

But a year earlier as they were driving to Gatwick Airport to fly to Anna Maria Island and sort out their wedding plans, they were involved in a serious accident in which Caroline almost died.

A lorry switched lanes on the M25 motorway, hitting a car which spun across all four lanes and backwards into the path of their car being driven by Anthony with Caroline and their baby son Harrison in the back,

With no air bag in the back of the car and as she was looking away and holding Harrison’s hand at the time of the accident, Caroline suffered severe injuries including a fractured spine. But her first concern was for Harrison. She looked over at the baby and he had blood trickling from his mouth. She said: “I thought, oh my goodness, he has severe internal injuries but he had just cut his lip.”

Witnesses rushed to get the family out of the car because smoke was coming from the bonnet and there were fears it would explode. Caroline was dragged on to the hard shoulder and an air ambulance was called to take her to hospital – which broke down when it landed on the other carriageway so she had to be taken by a land ambulance.

Although Caroline had no idea how seriously injured she was and admits she was fixated on getting to the airport to catch the flight, as a police officer she realised the gravity of the situation when the air ambulance arrived.

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She spent three weeks in Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals before being discharged but she faced plenty of challenges. She was still breast feeding Harrison whom she could neither hold nor cuddle and on top of that, she and Anthony moved house two weeks after she came home.

Caroline said: “We had exchanged on the day of the accident. We were moving, I had been promoted at work, I had Harrison and I was getting married and then all of a sudden in a split second, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Her fight back to health has been a long one and she is facing fresh surgery after a new spinal complication but Caroline and Anthony decided to go ahead with their dream wedding.

And for Caroline the most poignant moment came as their families and friends waited on the beach.

She said: “I stood on a bridge which led down to the beach and looked at all my friends and family and what I had dreamed of and I had to take a deep breath to keep the tears away.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house and even the vicar was choked up during the ceremony because she knew about our journey and how we got to be there.”

Now back in their Blake Close, St Albans, home after a 10-day mini honeymoon on Anna Maria Island, the couple are having a blessing at St Peter’s Church next Saturday, November 26, the same day as Caroline’s dad Robert celebrates his birthday, followed by a party for 170 at the Noke Hotel.