A mother whose daughter lay trapped for 48 hours next to the bodies of three dead friends in the South Wales horror smash today told MailOnline how she had to go looking for her herself after police insisted she was ‘probably out partying’.
Anna Certowicz has revealed that her daughter Sophie Russon, 20, was ‘conscious some of the time’ in the car after it ran off the A48 in Cardiff and had ‘called out but no one was close enough to hear her.’
Mother-of-three Anna was one of 200 people out searching for Sophie, her friends Eve Smith, 21, Darcy Ross, 21, and two men named as Rafel Jeanne, 24, and Shane Loughlin, 32.
At one point Ms Certowicz was just 20 yards from the wreckage without realising, she told MailOnline – revealing a woman volunteer with her dog found the crashed VW Tiguan – not the police.
She told MailOnline: ‘I feel terrible for the families of Eve and Darcy, they were all best friends and had known each other since they were small’, adding the only people who knew what happened were her daughter and the other survivor Shane, who only met the girls for the first time on Friday night.
Sophie is critical but stable in hospital and undergoing surgery for a bleed on the brain and fractures to her neck, spine, and face.
Her mother Anna Certowicz, 41, said: ‘It’s too awful to imagine what she went through trapped in the car in the dark until it got light and then dark again over two days. Sophie was lying there for all that time, they could all have been found much quicker if the police had started searching straight away.’
Ms Certowicz says police didn’t take her seriously when she told them her daughter Sophie, 20, was missing after a night out on Friday and fobbed off her concerns by telling her she was ‘probably out partying’.
‘She was conscious some of the time – she called out but no one was close enough to hear her.’
Bank worker Sophie was eventually found and cut out of the VW Tiguan where she spent two days knowing her friends were dead alongside her.
Miss Smith and Mr Jeanne died in the crash in the early hours of Saturday morning. Anna said the only people who knew what happened were her daughter and the other survivor Shane Loughlin.
All five victims who had been out together in Cardiff and Newport were found shortly after midnight last night.
Anna has hit out at Gwent Police for not responding urgently when the five were reported missing.
She said: ‘They didn’t take it seriously, they kept saying she’s 20 and they are all probably out partying.
‘I told them my daughter doesn’t go out on three day benders – she and her friends are good girls. It was out of character for all of them.
‘I was ringing the police all through Saturday and Sunday but they didn’t seem bothered.
‘Then all of a sudden, I don’t know what happened, but the police started ringing me asking for a photograph and a description.’
A police helicopter was launched to search for the missing five but the car was found by a young woman out searching for the group.
Anna said: ‘We all knew it was something serious, all their phones went off line at the same time.
‘But the police didn’t listen, they didn’t want to know, it’s disgraceful’.
Anna said she and other parents were kept waiting for two hours at the scene where they could hear firemen cutting up the car to reach the victims inside.
She said: ‘No one came over to tell us what was going on, it’s a parents worst nightmare but we didn’t get any support.
‘It wasn’t even the helicopter who found them even though it flew over a few times.
‘It was one of the volunteer searchers with a dog, if she hadn’t gone into the trees they would still be there now.’
Gwent Police has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct who will carry out an investigation.
Anna said the car landed on its front and was tilted up in the air with Sophie, a trainee manager with Lloyds Bank, trapped by her seat belt which caused her burn injuries.
She said: ‘I have seen her in hospital, she’s all tubed up and we still don’t know if she’s going to survive. The next 48 hours are critical.’
Anna said she has been told three of the people inside the car died on impact but added that the only people who knew what happened were her daughter and the other survivor Shane Loughlin.
Mr Loughlin, a father who runs a bouncy castle hire company in Cardiff, is also on the critical list the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Rafel Jeanne is believed to be a relative of former Queens Park Rangers footballer Leon Jeanne, 42, a convicted drug dealer.
Police have sealed off the accident scene next to a roundabout at the top of a slip road coming off the A48M.
The relatives and friends of ‘bubbly and beautiful’ Eve Smith today confirmed she has died – in a double tragedy for the family. Her older sibling Lauren Doyle wrote on Facebook: ‘I will not comment on anyone other than Eve Smith to confirm that she has been confirmed as deceased’.
Eve’s sister Xana was killed in a car crash in January 2015 caused by a male driver who was drunk while high on cocaine and cannabis, MailOnline has learned. Eve and her family appeared in a Sky documentary ‘This is Our Family’ calling for tougher sentences for dangerous drivers. They were followed by a camera crew for three years.
Police are today probing how the car lay undiscovered for 48 hours off one of South Wales’ busiest roads, with two people alive and three dead among them. Firefighters were seen carrying stretchers and cutting equipment towards the car this morning. The car was removed on a flatbed truck at lunchtime after a private ambulance arrived to carry away the dead.
Mike Holmes, 52, a driver at the scene on the outskirts of Cardiff this morning, said: ‘It’s incredible that thousands of cars must have gone past without knowing. My heart goes out to the families, it’s awful to think they were in the car and so close to people going by.’
Gwent Police today revealed they found three bodies in the early hours of this morning. Two people have been rushed to hospital with serious injuries. The force has not revealed who has been found dead or alive. BBC Wales is reporting that Ms Russon is in hospital with serious injuries.