A businesswoman caused a near-fatal crash on the M25 after suffering a sudden seizure at the wheel – caused by a brain tumour she didn’t know she had.
Sue Ayton, 48, was driving home from a business meeting in her Range Rover when she started fitting and lost consciousness.
The 4×4 veered into the left-hand lane and crashed into two cars before hurtling into the hard shoulder.
Miraculously, nobody was seriously injured but Sue was sent for brain scans which revealed a snooker ball-sized tumour by her right ear.
Luckily it was non-cancerous and doctors were able to remove it, allowing Sue to make a full recovery and return to work at her global research business within days.
She said: “I had absolutely no idea at all about the tumour. I had experienced some very minor problems, but it was practically symptomless.
“I knew I was on the right side of lucky.”
The accident happened at 4.30pm on January 29 as Sue drove home to Shepton Mallet, Somerset, from a business meeting with her PA Kayleigh Johns in the passenger seat.
She suddenly blacked out near the junction of the M25 and M3 and ended up ploughing into two Audis.
Mum-of-three Sue said: “I was in the outside lane of the motorway doing 70mph when I started to smell burning rubber.
“I thought there was a problem with the car but I now know it was the first symptom of an epileptic fit.
“I don’t clearly recall much about what happened after that.
“But I believe we started to swerve across the lanes of the motorway and eventually ended up across lane one with one of the Audis pushed up against the driver’s side of my car.
“Thankfully nobody was seriously injured but it took a while to be freed from the car.”
Sue was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, where a brain scan revealed a 5.5cm tumour.
She was then referred to Bristol Neuro-Oncology Group at Southmead Hospital where further investigation found the meningioma was non-cancerous and in a highly operable position by her right ear.
After suffering daily focal seizures since the accident, Sue underwent an operation to remove the tumour on May 28 where 64 staples were used to close the wound.
Just six days later she was getting on top of work for her research company Ayton Global Research – from her hospital bed.
She said: “All my friends kept telling me to slow down, but the surgeons want to get you back up and running.
“I think they were a bit bemused, though.”
Sue’s seizures have stopped following a course of steroids and she is making a speedy recovery.