Sheffield teen's life saved after family's BMW automatically calls 999 after horror crash

A Sheffield teenager who was minutes from death after a horror road smash was saved – after the family’s BMW automatically dialled 999.

Sunday, 13th October 2019, 4:39 pm
Updated Sunday, 13th October 2019, 6:08 pm

Schoolboy Bradley Duke, 14, was critically injured when his mother’s vehicle slid on black while giving her children a lift to school.

Bradley was in the back seat with his brother Hayden, 11, when mum Claire lost control of the car at 55mph while on a rural Sheffield road.

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Bradley Duke's life was saved by a safety feature in his mum's BMW.

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The teen suffered serious skull and spine fractures which left him fighting for his life during the horrendous smash in January 2017.

Claire, who was rendered unconscious as a result of the collision, woke up to the sound of an unfamiliar voice coming from the dashboard.

The female voice told her, 'we know where you are and help is on its way', but Ms Duke didn't realise the crash had triggered a BMW safety feature.

'I was in a state of complete panic, I had no idea what to do,' Ms Duke said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

The teenager suffered devastating head injuries.

'The seriousness of the situation still hadn't kicked in because of the shock.'

Paramedics saved Bradley's life with just seconds to spare and he was placed in an induced coma before flying to Sheffield Children's Hospital for emergency brain surgery.

He remained in coma for nine days and was placed on a life support machine causing the family to agonise over whether or not he would survive.

His mother later discovered emergency services were deployed to the crash scene by a safety feature in her 2014 BMW 3 Series which sends for help when the airbags are triggered.

The mother-of-three who also has an eight-week-old daughter, Sienna, says the technology 'saved Bradley's life', after doctor's revealed Bradley would have died if had he been treated just minutes later.

'He would not be with us now if it weren't for that safety feature in the car,' she said.

'If he had been lying there for just a few moments more he would have died.'

'When I realised what was going to happen I felt sheer panic and shouted out to the kids 'we're going to crash,' she said.

Ms Duke and her younger son only suffered minor injuries in the crash and Hayden who wasn't aware of the safety feature, ran from the scene to get help.

A police report found Bradley suffered much more serious injuries because he removed his seat belt moments before the smash, which his mother believes he did out of panic.

'I looked back and saw Bradley slumped in the backseat so went to check on him, I could tell he was hurt but I thought he had probably just bumped his head.'

She realised the severity of Bradley's injuries when she noticed a piece of his skull was missing, exposing his flesh.

After nine days in hospital the family were overjoyed when Bradley finally woke up, although it was just the beginning of a long recovery process.

Bradley, now 17, spent a month in hospital and, after being discharged, he had to relearn many basic skills like reading and writing, which he had lost as a result of the head injury.

The 17-year-old said: 'I don't remember anything about the crash, I blacked out.

'The first thing I remember was waking up in the hospital with wires everywhere.

He added: 'I feel very lucky, if it wasn't for the technology in the car and the doctors in the hospital, I wouldn't be here today.

'It's amazing what the technology can do. Nobody knew the car had that feature.'

A BMW spokesman said when the airbags are set off in an accident, BMW will call the car via its onboard SIM card.

If it gets no reply from the passengers, emergency services are deployed to the crash scene immediately.