Delivery driver Graham Tait pulled a passenger to safety
A GRIEVING son has told how he frantically tried to save his mum as she lay dying in a West Lothian horror smash.
Brave Graham Tait was driving a few cars behind and watched helplessly as his mum Leeanne Aitken’s Mondeo was caught up in the three-car crash on Wednesday afternoon.
The 24-year-old delivery driver was able to haul his mum’s 19-year-old passenger to safety but could only comfort his mum trapped in the wreck.
“She kept saying my name over and over,” said a tearful Graham. “I told her ‘I’m here and I’m not leaving.’
Fast food restaurant worker Leeanne, 45, had picked the close family friend up from work and was driving her home when tragedy struck - a typically selfless act for a woman who spent her life helping others.
Graham was driving to the family home in Ladywell when he spotted his mum’s car and followed her - to break the good news that he had been offered a new job.
He managed to free the passenger and place her in the recovery position - clearing her airways as she bled from severe head wounds.
“The emergency services said he saved her life,” said proud brother Daniel, 19. The passenger was flown to the Royal Infirmary by air ambulance where she remains fighting for life.
Graham used first aid training he learned from his mum after she took a course so she could treat any injuries her boys got.
Yet despite his heroic efforts he was unable to free mother-of-three Leanne.
“I ripped the door and tried to kick it off but it was stuck,” said Graham. “The engine was on her legs and the steering wheel on her chest. Then I saw smoke at her feet.”
News of the tragedy spread around Ladywell yesterday with shocked neighbours bringing cards of condolence in memory of popular Leeanne.
“She’d do anything for anyone,” said Graham. “Once there were two dogs fighting outside and one of them had bad leg injuries - mum took it to the vets.”
"She was there for everyone"
One-year-old pet staffie, Titan, is also missing his animal loving owner. “Last night I couldn’t sleep and I took mum’s pillow upstairs,” said Graham.
“I put it on the floor and Titan came up and went right around me and lay on it.”
James Tait, Leanne’s ex-husband and father to her three sons, Graham, Daniel and 27-year-old Christoper, told how the boys were her life.
“She was always so proud of them, it didn’t matter what they did, she was entirely supportive,” said James, 47.
The Sky employee added: “All the emergency services did a first-rate job regardless of the outcome.”
Daniel added: “She didn’t think much of herself but she was there for everyone else.
“My earliest memory of her was not being able to sleep and she came and sat with me until I did.
“Anything we wanted, she’d try to get it for us, a new game, whatever.”
Graham said: “She was the only person I could talk to about my problems. I’m 24 years-old and she was still putting plasters on me.
“It didn’t matter if it was a minor injury or something more serious, I’d come to her.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash at around 3.20pm on Wednesday on the A705, Cousland Road.
The 41-year-old driver of an Audi sustained a serious arm injury and was taken to hospital before being released following treatment.
A 39-year-old man and four-year-old girl in a Honda escaped serious injury and the child was taken to hospital as a precaution.
The road was closed for about seven and a half hours as specialist crash investigators were called in.
Appeal for witnesses
Sergeant Fraser Wood from Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit said: “This was a serious collision and our thoughts at this time are with the family and friends of the woman who sadly lost her life, along with all those involved.
“Our inquiries into the cause of the crash are continuing and I would ask anyone who saw what happened, and has not yet spoken to officers, to come forward. I would ask motorists using the A705 yesterday and who may have been recording via dash-cam devices to check their systems and provide any relevant footage to us as soon as possible.
“I’d like to thank those members of the public who stopped and assisted at the scene, along with our emergency service colleagues who attended the incident.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting incident number 2066 of Wednesday, January 8, 2020.