A car crash saved our relationship

Couple who were injured when a car crashed into the bus station where they were sitting say they were on the verge of breaking up before the accident – but the shared trauma has made them stronger than ever

  • A car crashed into Chloe Leer, 21, and boyfriend Liam Padghan, 20 at a bus stop
  • Their one-year relationship was on the rocks after arguing earlier in the night
  • But the couple, from Hastings, are now closer than ever after the trauma 

A couple who were nearly killed after a car crashed into them as they sat at a bus stop says the accident saved their relationship.

Chloe Leer, 21, and her boyfriend, Liam Padghan, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex, were sitting at a bus stop on their way home from a night out in the early hours of July 24 when a car came ‘screeching’ around the corner, mounted the pavement and ploughed into the stop.

Liam, a retail worker, spent a week in hospital with injuries and needed to undergo intense physiotherapy to relearn how to walk. Barista Chloe, who was struck second, suffered cuts and bruising. 

The couple, who met at secondary school, said their relationship was on the rocks before the accident, and they had argued that evening, but surviving the trauma of the crash has brought them closer together. 

Chloe Leer, 21, and her boyfriend, Liam Padghan, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex, were sitting at a bus stop on their way home from a night out in the early hours of July 24 when a car came ‘screeching’ around the corner, mounted the pavement and ploughed into the stop. Liam spent a week in hospital, pictured, while Chloe was in hospital overnight 

The scene of the crash, pictured, which ended with the couple being taken to hospital 

The reconnected high school sweethearts, pictured, had argued earlier in the evening and their one-year relationship was on the rocks before the accident happened

Chloe said: ‘Me and Liam had an argument that night and he’d gone out with friends. We were on the verge of breaking up for good.

‘He persuaded me to come out and meet them at about 11:30pm and we stayed out for another hour and then decided to walk home.

‘We had stopped to sit on a bus stop bench to roll a cigarette. We were there no longer than ten minutes.

‘I heard screeching and then saw the car come round the corner. It was drifting and then the back end wobbled so it ended up facing us.

‘I was sat down and Liam was stood up to my right. I only had time to stand up and say “Liam” before it hit us. Liam got hit first so he was injured really badly. He was blown through the glass of the bus stop and I was thrown out the gap at the back.

‘He was telling me how much he loves me and that he wants to marry me right before it happened.

‘I feel like I was meant to be there with him because otherwise god knows what would’ve happened to him.’


Retail worker Liam had the worst injuries, and the driver rushed to help him as well as calling the police, with Chloe’s injuries being superficial

The first ambulance arrived after 20 minutes to take Liam to Conquest Hospital, Hastings, closely followed by another one for Chloe


Before and after the crash: Chloe was sat with boyfriend Liam as the car ploughed into the pair

Retail worker Liam had the worst injuries, and the driver rushed to help him as well as calling the police.

The driver, 33, received a postal requisition to face a charge of careless driving and is due to appear before Hastings Magistrates’ Court next year.

People outside a local club heard the smash and Chloe’s ‘hysterical’ screams, rushing to the scene to help her while waiting for ambulances.  

Chloe continued: ‘I saw Liam’s leg and it was horrible – his knee cap looked like it was halfway off his leg and his thigh bone was completely broken and sticking out.

The pair’s one-year relationship was on the rocks the night of the crash, but barista Chloe says the shared traumatic experience made them stronger as a couple

Chloe, 21, said the difficult recovery and terrifying experience bonded the two of them, leaving her believing she was ‘exactly where she was meant to be’ that night

Chloe said of the moment she looked at her boyfriend after the crash: ‘I saw Liam’s leg and it was horrible – his knee cap looked like it was halfway off his leg and his thigh bone was completely broken and sticking out’

Liam spent the next week after the crash in July in hospital, and was only able to walk again after four weeks of intense physiotherapy

‘He kept staring up into the sky and I thought he was going to die. I couldn’t feel anything yet because of the adrenaline.

‘I noticed there was blood coming from my face and panicked a bit but I wasn’t in enough pain to take my attention off Liam.

‘There’s a club about 150 yards away and people heard the bang and me screaming and ran over. I was screaming my head off.

‘Two women helped me while we were waiting for the ambulance. It felt like the longest time of my life.’ 


The 21-year-old said her ribs were in agony the following day, and was covered in bruises. Pictured before the crash

Chloe took care of Liam during his difficult recovery, with the pair bonding over the trauma of the accident

The first ambulance arrived after 20 minutes to take Liam to Conquest Hospital, Hastings, closely followed by another one for Chloe.

Tests revealed Liam had broken his left femur, leading him to get rushed to emergency surgery to put a metal rod from his hip to his knee.  

Chloe’s wounds were found to be superficial, so she was charged at 6am the morning of the accident.

Liam spent the next week in hospital and was only able to walk again after four weeks of intense physiotherapy.

Chloe took care of Liam during his difficult recovery, with the pair bonding over the trauma of the accident. 

The couple say they ‘couldn’t be happier’ after the accident, and are ‘glad they had each other through it’

The 21-year-old said: ‘The next day my ribs were in agony, I was covered in bruises and I had a massive lump on my head. I went and saw Liam and it was a huge relief just to know he was alive.

‘He couldn’t sit up because his bones would rub together so he had his leg pulled straight and tied to the end of the bed.

‘I took care of him a lot while he was recovering and it’s brought us a lot closer because he’s seen how much I’d do for him and we were just there for each other.

‘We already knew how much we loved each other but it just put things in place – if the crash didn’t happen we probably wouldn’t be together now.’

Liam said: ‘I didn’t see the car until it was too late and then the next thing I remember I was on the floor. I could hear Chloe screaming my name but I couldn’t move.

‘The recovery was awful but I was just glad we were both okay and had each other through it. Going through that together has brought us closer than ever and we couldn’t be happier now.’ 

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