Lee and Clare True are lucky to be alive after a tree smashed through their car while they were travelling on the A36 near Warminster just hours after their Valentine’s Day wedding.
The Lower Westwood couple, who married at Trowbridge register office last Friday, were returning from picking up Mr True’s children, seven-year-old James and five-year-old Charlie, from Salisbury, when the fierce winds blew a 30ft tree on to their Peugeot 206.
The incident, which happened at 7.15pm near Warminster service station, saw the tree crush the car’s roof and smash its windscreen, writing if off. Mr and Mrs True suffered minor injuries, the children and the couple’s dog Tilly, who was also in the car, weren’t injured.
Mrs True, 40, who was driving, said: “We didn’t see it coming at all. When it happened the roof caved in and the car was full of smoke, as the airbags were deployed, Lee’s door was jammed. He managed to kick the door open, grab the kids and get out.
“The greatest wedding gift we could have got was escaping with our lives.”
Police and ambulance crews were called and in the meantime, the family were helped by around 15 members of the public.
Nurse Mrs True said: “Everyone was so good to us and we’d like to thank them all. In particular we’d like to say thank you to Robert Whitefield from Whitefield Metals, in Westbury, who was one of the first on the scene.
“He stayed with us for two hours and joked he had an excuse to be late for a romantic meal.”
Mr Whitefield came across the scene travelling home to Warminster for a Valentine’s Day meal with his girlfriend Kate Newton.
He said: “I amused the kids and looked after the dog for 10 minutes or so to try and take their minds off what had happened. I’m the type of person who wants to be involved and give a helping hand.
“After everything was coming to a close I even went back to the yard, got my chainsaw and cut up the tree for the police so the road could be quickly cleared. So I earned some Brownie points with the police but not with my girlfriend who was left with a meal for one as I didn’t get home until 11.15pm.
“She was fine about it though and said if anyone was going to help out in that situation she knew it would be me.”
The family were checked over by paramedics at the scene, being given the all-clear and were taken home by police while their car was taken by police to Ashley Wood Recovery, in Salisbury.
IT programmer Mr True, 36, said: “Another millisecond and we’d have probably been crushed. Not many things scare me but that certainly did.” The newlyweds, had a family reception at home, in Tynings Way, and after surviving their ordeal, they enjoyed a different kind of celebration when they returned.
Mrs True said: “When I got home I had a stiff drink to celebrate us all escaping.”