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Lingering nightmare - Accident victim still haunted by memories nearly a decade later

Published:Friday | April 29, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Cieanna Smith

It was Tuesday, June 5, 2007. Cieanna Smith, now a practising lawyer based in Ocho Rios, St Ann, was returning from a birthday party for a church brother, which was held in Priory.

In a car with relatives and friends, she was not prepared for what was to happen on the way back to Ocho Rios.

"A car came out of a hotel and we (our car) slammed into it. I was sitting in the back seat, in the middle, and the impact sent me forward into the windshield and I was left unconscious for about five to 10 minutes," Smith recalled.

The driver of the other car died.

Smith had no broken bones but received serious facial injuries and lost a lot of blood. Assisted out of the car by members of a crowd that had gathered, drenched in blood, her white and cream outfit turned red, and her face was plastered with splinters.

She regained consciousness to words she didn't want to hear.

"A woman kept telling me, 'Yuh going to die!' Then my sister started screaming the same thing, 'Yuh going to die! Yuh going to die!'"

When the police arrived, she got to make a phone call to her mother.

"She said, 'No, Cieanna', and hung up. She just couldn't believe it."

Smith had to have two facial surgeries. But her injuries were more than just facial as she was unable to walk properly for a couple of months.

Now almost nine years later, she is still affected by the accident.

"Last year, three pieces of splinters came out of my face. My body just rejected it. To get them out surgically would cause too much cutting, and it's not really affecting me. When a piece is coming out it causes a great level of discomfort and can be painful. I use a tweezer to help get it out."

 

EMOTIONAL SCARS

 

Smith said her scars are more than physical.

"I'm still very afraid of speeding. I'm terrified at taking public transportation. I make the extra effort to try and be as safe as possible on the road. Up to three or four years ago, if I'm in a vehicle and it brakes suddenly, I go through a traumatic experience. For a couple of seconds I would relive the experience," she said.

"It's really kind of terrifying. If anybody should drive me, they have to be responsible and drive within the speed limit."

Smith is not a driver as yet but hopes to get her licence before the end of the year.

"I think I'll be a very responsible driver. Experience has taught me that being on the road is always a risk, and we should, therefore, try and minimise that risk at all times. Cars are man-made and you can't put your trust in them. They will fail you."

carl.gilchrist@gleanerjm.com