‘I had one second to save my son’s life’ after drunk driver crashed into us

Yazmin Henderson with son Leo
Yazmin Henderson with son Leo

Devoted mother Yazmin Henderson was walking home with her son Leo, 2, last July when a drunk driver ploughed towards the pair, forcing the brave mum to throw herself between the car and her toddler.

Her mother’s instinct saved Leo’s life but left her with devastating injuries and doctors warning her she may never walk normally again.

And after waiting five months for closure, Yazmin sat in court as the driver Mark Richards was sentenced to just 18 months in prison.

The 40 year-old housewife from North Kelsey, Lincolnshire has spent months overcoming the devastating event.


Yazmin Henderson with son Leo
Yazmin Henderson with son Leo



 drunk Mark Richards
Drunk Mark Richards


“After the surgeries and the doctors telling me I would not be able to walk normally again, I was in a very dark place,” she said.

“I used to break into tears everytime I tried to talk about it. I would go into shock, but I’ve seen a psychologist who has helped me come to terms with what happened.

“It was a strange feeling because despite the bad, I was incredibly glad it wasn’t worse and Leo was okay.

“I took the attitude that I am going to carry on and be able to live a normal life again.”

It was a beautiful summer evening on July 3, 2011 when Yazmin took her son on their typical visit to a nearby field in their village to see the cows and horses.

On their way back Yazmin ran into a friend and popped into her house for a cup of coffee.

Just 30 minutes later they started for home again when Yazmin heard a loud shriek.

“I heard the screeching of tyres,” Yazmin recalled.

Yazmin Henderson with son Leo at the scene of the incident
Yazmin Henderson with son Leo at the scene of the incident

“I turned my head and there was this car coming toward us. My instinct was to get Leo away.

“I only had a second so I just grabbed Leo and threw myself between him and the car as it came through the bollards.

“I was sure I was going to die, I thought this was the end. Then it hit me and everything went black.

“When I opened my eyes I thought ‘Oh my God, I am still alive.’ I looked over and saw Leo lying on the ground motionless.

“He was covered in blood. I was so afraid he was dead!

“I tried to get up and realised I couldn’t move my legs so I crawled to my son. I took him in my arms and he made a sigh then gasped for air and began sceaming.”

The injured mum tried to comfort her son, cooing “Everything is okay Leo. Mummy is here.”

Yazmin’s friend heard the collision and ran to the scene as her husband called the emergency services.

A traumatised Yazmin looked on as the driver was pulled from the vehicle.

She said: “When I saw him in front of me totally drunk, staggering and wobbling, I was furious.

“I wanted to strangle him! I was so angry and I couldn’t even move to confront him and tell him how stupid he was.”

The brave mum was rushed to hospital where doctors put eight screws and a plate in her leg.

Both her the bones in her lower leg were broken in two places and she had dislocated her ankle.

She has spent five months attending psychiatric sessions and ongoing physiotherapy as a result of the accident.

She has made huge strides in her continuing recovery but even now she struggles to walk without crutches and cannot lift anything heavy.

“I am in almost constant pain,” she explained. “I have physiotherapy which helps but I still cannot walk properly. There’s always pain in my leg, It’s very very bad.”

Although Leo escaped physical harm, Yazmin has seen the psychological impact the ordeal has had on her son.

Leo once loved tractors and cars but is now terrified of them.

“Every time he hears a car he hides behind me,” she said. “He won’t go and see the tractors he used to love seeing, he says to me ‘mummy it’s going to crash into us’ every time a car comes.

“He was a fearless little boy once. It is getting better with time and I hope he will be able to forget it all someday.”

On December 2, 2011 Mark Richards, the driver of the Subaru Impreza that hit Yazmin was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Lincolnshire Crown Court after being found guilty of dangerous driving and drink-driving.

Yazmin remembers what it was like to sit in the court room, “It was good to hear how everything happened because I was not exactly sure about the details since I blacked out.

“It was emotional and it gave me some closure.

“When the judge read the sentence and gave Mr Richards the full 18 months, I was relieved.

“I thought it will never be enough to take away what my family has gone through, but I hope it will make him change so he learns from this. I hope he uses prison to better himself.”

Yazmin was grateful for her family’s support, especially husband Alex, during her recovery.

“Alex was there to help me. At first he wanted to kill the driver.

“He kept saying, ‘I almost went to two funerals!’ But we have learned to be grateful that Leo and I are still alive with bright futures ahead.”

Despite facing a near-death experience and crippling injuries the resolute mum keeps a positive outlook and hope she will someday be able to do the things she loves best.

The inspiring woman said through tears: “I want to be happy. I want to carry on with my life.

“I’m not going to ruin my life because someone has pushed me down.

“I will push myself so I can do all the things I used to do.

“I will run and climb again. I will do yoga again. I will dance the salsa again.

“But most of all I will be the best mum to Leo I can be because I’ve learned life is too short to keep yourself from the things you love.”


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