"We deserved to die": Miracle baby survives horror crash as Leeds Homeless Street Angels come to the rescue

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A miracle baby who had stopped breathing is lucky to be alive after his father crashed the car in a desperate bid to get him to hospital in time.

Augustine Kamuzonde ploughed into a wall after trying to overtake a tractor on the way to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) while his wife and four-month-old son were sat behind the front passenger seat.

Timothy is pictured with his parents Augustine and Faith, and sisters, from the left Esther, aged nine, Ruth, aged 11 and Charity, aged seven, at their home in Bardsey.

Timothy is pictured with his parents Augustine and Faith, and sisters, from the left Esther, aged nine, Ruth, aged 11 and Charity, aged seven, at their home in Bardsey.

Mr Kamuzonde lay covered in blood as his wife Faith ran screaming from the car with their son Timothy.

By an extraordinary stroke of luck, several members of the Joyce family - better known as the Leeds Homeless Street Angels - were at their mother’s house nearby and helped to resuscitate little Timothy.

Police officers told the Kamuzonde family they were surprised at least one of them was not fatally injured.

“We deserved to die, but we didn’t” said Mr Kamuzonde, 39. “Our allotted time was not yet up, though it was an uncomfortably close encounter with death."

The damage to the family car.

The damage to the family car.

Miraculously, the family were able to leave hospital less than six hours after being admitted, with no serious injuries.

Mr and Mrs Kamuzonde have always described Timothy as their miracle baby, as doctor’s told the pair they were unlikely to conceive after Mr Kamuzonde recovered from stage four cancer in 2017.

Earlier on Saturday January 4, Mr Kamuzonde, an architect for a Leeds firm, had been at home with his wife, mother-in-law Nellie Katiyo, and three girls in the village of Bardsey, near Wetherby, when they noticed Timothy was struggling to breathe.

“We took him outside to see if a cool breeze might help him, but his mouth kept frothing, he had an irregular breath pattern and his teeth were clenched," he said.

The Kamuzonde family went to say thank you to the Joyce family after they had recovered from their ordeal.

The Kamuzonde family went to say thank you to the Joyce family after they had recovered from their ordeal.

"I knew immediately that we had to get medical help quickly. I ruled out calling for an ambulance because of it would have taken at least an hour for paramedics to arrive. The only option was to go quickly to hospital.”

He knew the journey could take up to 45 minutes, regardless of whether they went to Harrogate District Hospital, where Mrs Kamuzonde works as a nurse, or to LGI.

As they rushed from the house, Mr Kamuzonde instinctively got into the family Audi Q7 rather than their other car.

A faster and sturdier vehicle, a police officer later confirmed that the decision had likely made the difference between life and death.

“My wife sat behind the passenger seat, holding our child so she could check his breathing,” Mr Kamuzonde said.

Timothy is embraced by his sisters.

Timothy is embraced by his sisters.

“When I got to the junction of Church Lane or the A58, I had to choose Harrogate or LGI.

“I instinctively chose LGI as it is a straight road with few interruptions.”

When he got stuck behind three slow-moving vehicles that were following a tractor near Beech Grove Farm in Scarcroft, Mr Kamuzonde tried to overtake - but as he got past the first vehicle, the tractor suddenly turned right.

“I knew going off the road was safer than crashing into five tonnes of steel,” he said.

“I also had to avoid the sharp-edged digger that ended up scrapping the bonnet, and the passenger-side mirror. If my vehicle had been any closer to the tractor, I can't even imagine what would have happened to my wife and son.”

The car lifted off the ground after it clipped the kerb and went crashing into the wall.

Becky Joyce was at the time visiting her mother Mary Hunt at her home with other members of the family.

They care for the homeless in Leeds through their Homeless Street Angels charity.

“Me and Savannah (Becky’s niece) jumped over the wall," said Mrs Joyce. "Faith came out of the car with Timothy shouting ‘my baby, my baby!’

“He wasn’t breathing. I didn’t think he was alive.

“Savannah took him and did baby CPR and he started breathing and crying.”

A bloodied Mr Kamuzonde was able to free himself from the wreckage of his car, while the Joyces covered Mrs Kamuzonde in a blanket.

The pair were taken to hospital by road while Timothy was airlifted to LGI.

“The Samaritans, my Street Angels, came to our rescue,” said Mr Kamuzonde, who went back to see the Joyces to say thank you a few weeks later

They even bought the Kamuzondes a replacement bible, as the one they had carried with them in the car was covered in blood.

Mrs Kamuzonde had been holding the bible over her son in the back, but it landed on Mr Kamuzonde during the crash, a sure sign a higher power was watching over them, he said.

“All I could say to the Joyce family was ‘God bless you’,” said Mr Kamuzonde, who was also full of praise for the police, ambulance and medical teams who helped them.

“My son’s coming into this world was a miracle,” he added. “On this day, my son deserved to die, but didn’t – my wife and I deserved to die in the crash, but didn’t - my wife’s leg should have been broken, but it was not.

“I just see God’s hand and his mercy towards my family."

Doctors could not find a cause for Timothy’s breathing problem, but is now recovering well at home with sisters Ruth, 11, Esther, nine and Charity, seven.