Man who crashed into B&Q after heart attack is giving something back to lifesavers

May 29 2019
Man who crashed into B&Q after heart attack is giving something back to lifesavers

WHEN Nick Howitt had chest pains as he was working out at the gym, he thought it was indigestion.

A few minutes later he had a heart attack at the wheel of his car and crashed into a wall.

Now the Winterbourne man wants to give something back to the team that saved his life.

Nick, 48, is raising funds for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

He said: “It’s only fair, because of what they did, to give something back and it’s self-motivating. To be honest you see them every other day in the sky and they are busy. You don’t know they are there until you need them.”

Nick’s accident happened after he left a session at Yate Active gym with his girlfriend Hayley Hutton.

While he was working out, he had pain in his chest.

Nick said: “I have no medical history at all, I was 47 at the time and the last thing on my mind was that it was a heart issue. I thought it was indigestion or heartburn.”

They left Yate Active gym, with Nick driving. As he was going into the roundabout, he lost consciousness and put his foot on the accelerator. He went over two lanes, over the verge and through the B&Q car park, hitting three cars and a lamppost.

Nick said: “Hayley by this time has unbuckled herself and is holding me back, and she has the foresight to push the button ignition to slow the car down, so we ended up hitting the B&Q store. Because she’d turned the engine off, we were probably only doing about 10 miles an hour. I didn’t hurt anybody else apart from Hayley, who banged her head and her knee quite badly.”

Three passers-by got Nick out of the car and one of them started CPR. An ambulance was there after a couple of minutes, and he was told that his heart stopped for 90 seconds before they started it again with a defibrillator.

Nick Howitt in hospital

Nick Howitt recovering in hospital after the accident

Nick was taken to the BRI, where he was in a medically-induced coma for four days. Doctors fitted a stent to his heart before he came home and explained that his condition is hereditary. Ten months later, he is on medication but feels well.

In May, Nick and his girlfriend Hayley and her family ran the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k, and raised over £800. Nick’s employer has since donated £400.

Nick said: “I want to give something back to the GWAAC. They were going to call the helicopter out but then it wasn’t necessary, but it’s all the same team.”

You can donate via Nick’s fundraising page here.