03/07/2012 11:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Hero Mum Saves Baby Daughter By Outrunning 32-Ton Lorry Heading For Her Home

Hero mum saves baby daughter by outrunning 32-tonne lorry heading for her home SWNS

Hero mum Jen Whitelam saved her baby daughter's life when she outran an out of control 32-tonne lorry which was heading towards her home.

Jen, 23, was leaving her front door with her 23-month-old daughter Bella when she saw the unmanned lorry heading straight for her house at top speed.

The quick-thinking mum stayed calm, grabbed her daughter and ran to the back of the house as the lorry crashed into her home, leaving a large hole in the side of the two-bedroom property, and crushing Jen's car which was parked on the driveway.

The 60ft long lorry caused £69,000 worth of damage to the property in Derbyshire, and missed Jen and Bella by a few inches.

"I was literally seconds away. If I hadn't opened the front door I wouldn't have seen it," says Jen. "To open the door and see it coming towards us was terrifying. Bella was stood next to me holding my hand. I didn't have time to pick her up, I just dragged her to the back of the house.

Hero mum saves baby daughter by outrunning 32-tonne lorry heading for her home Jen and Bella with Jen's sister Rebecca who was also in the house. Pic: SWNS

"As we started to run to the back, the sound of it coming through the wall was like nothing I have ever heard before.

"The house was shaking and it was awful. The first thing it hit was my car, it totally smashed it. And then it came through the kitchen. We had been eating breakfast in there a few minutes before. If we had been five minutes longer, we would have been dead.

"It's a good job my car was out there, I think that slowed it down a bit, otherwise it might have come through to the room we were hiding in."

Jen's sister Rebecca, 20, who was in the living room downstairs, also managed to get to safety at the back of the house. Jen and Bella had to live in a hotel for three weeks after the crash which happened on Friday May 4.

They have now been told they will not be able to return to their home before Christmas while repairs are carried out.

The lorry firm, JB Tool and Plant Hire, has paid £69,000 to Jen's landlord to cover the damage but have refused to reimburse her for the loss of her car or her belongings.

Jen, who works part-time as a dental assistant, says: "The finance company won't write off the £3,000, the insurance company won't pay the extra £3,000 as the model of that car has devalued. And JB Cool and Plant Hire won't pay a penny to me. I wasn't the one in the wrong - yet I've been shafted."

Leicestershire-based JB Tool and Plant Hire today apologised to Jen for the incident and confirmed the driver had been disciplined.

Manager Peter Cox said: "The driver has been disciplined. We are investigating the incident and we obviously apologise to Miss Whitelam. The matter is now in the hands of our insurers."

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