Miracle escape for driver after horror crash on city bypass

James Airlie from Liberton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
James Airlie from Liberton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A DAZED driver miraculously walked away from a horror crash which catapulted his car into the air and hurled it 30-feet down an embankment.

Dad-of-one James Airlie remembers little of events immediately leading up to the lunchtime smash last Friday on the city bypass near Straiton Junction.

He initially refused to be taken to hospital by ambulance – only to make his own way to the Royal Infirmary later in acute pain to be told he had broken both shoulders.

“I hit the central reservation metal barrier just where it starts and it shot me into the air – it was like a ramp,” said James, 39.

“I was propelled across three lanes and then 20 or 30 feet down the embankment, rolling.”

The cart-wheeling crumpled wreck of the car he was borrowing off his step-dad eventually came to rest at the foot of a grass verge.

He clambered from the wreckage of the Vauxhall Corsa stunned and in severe pain to be helped by a good Samaritan who dialled 999.

Mystery surrounds what caused the crash, with James in the car on his own at the time and no other vehicles involved.

“I’ve no recollection but the car was spinning and left the ground – that’s from the witness.

“I managed to scramble out of a window that were all smashed – the car was upside down,” added James.

Police and ambulance crews arrived while James said a breathalyser test was negative and the cruise control was set at 68mph in a 70mph zone.

He was treated by paramedics at the roadside but declined hospital treatment – only for a friend to take him later.

“I got to the hospital and wasn’t even put in a ward, I had to wait in a corridor,” he said. “I couldn’t use my shoulders and they came up as broken on a CT scan.”

James claimed a shoulder strap was then “put on wrong”, causing more pain, only for a second nurse to correct the error.

“I was given one Paracetamol and sent home,” he said. “My mum was there as well and she was furious.

“I’m still in pain now and I went back to the hospital three days in a row and was told ‘what do you expect us to do’ - I was in so much pain and begging for help.”

Police confirmed they were called at 12.20pm last Friday to the City Bypass, A720 eastbound about one mile before the Straiton Junction to reports of a one-car crash.

No arrest was made, the road remained open and officers waited for the car recovery truck to haul the Corsa up the embankment an take it to a yard.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We dispatched a Paramedic Response Unit and an ambulance to the scene – one male patient in his 30s was treated at the scene.”

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “We are unable to comment on individual clinical cases without the consent of the patient.

“If the person has concerns, I would urge them to make contact with us to discuss further.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com