How patrolman's life was changed in minute of mayhem
THE life of AA patrolman John McGuinness changed in just 60 seconds.
One minute, John was talking to the driver of a car which had broken down on the N7 near Newbridge in Co Kildare. Moments later, he was lying on his back in a pool of blood after a car crossed two lanes of traffic at high speed and smashed into him.
He broke his jaw in three places, his leg and his ankle. Eight months later, he is still undergoing physiotherapy and has only returned to work in recent weeks.
Mr McGuinness was attending an AA member's car that had broken down on the hard shoulder with a coolant leak in August last year.
When he arrived at the scene he used his flashing beacons to warn oncoming traffic of the danger and insisted that both passengers sit in the AA vehicle for safety reasons.
Moments later, a car crossed the lanes and collided with the back of the member's car at high speed. The impact smashed the rear of the car and broke the steel towing connection to the AA van.
"Thankfully, I moved them because it probably saved their lives," he said.
"All I remember was talking to the lady and waking up in a pool of blood. My jaw was broken in three places, and I broke my leg and ankle.
"I was five days in hospital where I had one operation. I've had two other surgeries on my ankle. I've been receiving physiotherapy for eight months, and went back to work three weeks ago.
"I'm very slow at walking and it is quite sore. Short distances are painful but bearable."
The AA says that many drivers are not aware of the dangers of stopping on the hard shoulder of a motorway. Motorists should never stop on a motorway to change drivers, attend to a child in the back seat or get items out of the boot.