Bedford’s ambulance service has apologised for leaving an injured mother and her two children at the side of a motorway for two hours after their car crashed.
Suzanne Russell-Carter, who suffered a broken nose and bruising, was concerned her two sons may have serious internal injuries.
But after waiting 125 minutes amid the traffic carnage on the cold, dark night, she and the boys gave up.
“There was still no sign of the ambulance, despite repeated calls, so a friendly fire officer from Kempston gave us a lift home,” she said.
“We thought it would be quicker to go to A&E from home if we needed to.
“Luckily, my sons seemed fine. But what if they had suffered internal injuries or bleeding? It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
East of England Ambulance Service has confirmed it received a 999 call from Suzanne at 5.43pm on the night of the crash, which happened between Junction 13 and 14 on the M1.
“Using the information provided, the incident was coded as a green ‘serious’ but not life-threatening call,” said a spokesman.
“We dispatched an ambulance, but unfortunately we needed to divert it to a patient who was in an immediately threatening condition.”
The spokesman said it was an “exceptionally busy” night, with around 480 call-outs between 5pm and 8pm.
Suzanne now plans to call the service to discuss how they let her down.
“It was a nasty, high impact crash. Debris from two cars was strewn across the carriageways and it caused the motorway to be completely closed for two hours.
“I was alone with two boys, who may have been seriously injured and needed to be checked by a paramedic at least.
“I had a broken nose and a sore chest from the impact. Surely they should have treated us as an emergency?”
The ambulance spokesman said: “We strive to provide an excellent service to our patients and we’re sorry that on this occasion we haven’t met the high standards we aim for.”