<div>Caroline’s brain was ‘almost torn in half’ after horror holiday crash</div>

Caroline’s brain was ‘almost torn in half’ after horror holiday crash

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Caroline Laner Breure was given a less than five per cent chance of survival after a police car slammed into her while she was on holiday.

The 37-year-old was propelled 13 metres by the vehicle after it struck her in Barcelona as it rushed to an emergency call without its sirens on, on September 9, 2019.

Her brain was almost “almost torn in half” after her head hit the windscreen.

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And even if she did make it through her injuries, medics warned she would likely be in a state of post coma unresponsiveness forever.

But Breure remembers nothing.

“If I close my eyes there’s just a blur of images and feelings from our holiday in Europe.,” she told 9News.com.au.

At the time 9News reported the accident happened at a pedestrian crossing on the Via Laietana in the Ciutat Vella – or old city.

Her family said she had suffered brain injuries but didn’t know how severe they were.

Caroline Breure before she was hit by a police car on holiday in Barcelona.

Dream holiday turned nightmare

Breure was in a coma for four months in a Spanish hospital after the accident.

Her mother Juceli flew to be at her bedside, where she stayed for more than six months.

Breure, who is an Australian citizen having moved to Bondi from Brazil five years before, was on the three week European trip with her boyfriend.

She had been a supply chain manager for a food company in Sydney, but had left to start a vegan sneaker brand called No Saints.

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But in an instant her life changed.

She had to have part of her skull removed during multiple brain surgeries and almost died again after developing an infection.

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Caroline Breure before she was hit by a police car on holiday in Barcelona.

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When she did finally wake up she didn’t even recognise her own mother.

Her brain had pretty much been wiped.

She had to learn how to do the most basic things again, from breathing on her own to swallowing and even closing and opening her eyes.

Her face was so smashed her phone didn’t recognise her features on the face recognition mode.

When Breure was well enough, she had to learn to walk and talk again.

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She also had to have the part of her skull returned to her brain – after it had been kept frozen.

She even relearned English by watching episodes of Friends.

Strangely, she found after the accident it had become her default language, rather than her native Portuguese.

Caroline Breure before she was hit by a police car on holiday in Barcelona.

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But she didn’t really realise what had happened to her until a year later, when she finally returned to Australia.

“On the 9th of September ​my stepdad told me that it was the one-year anniversary of my accident in Barcelona,” she told 9News.

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“He explained that I’d been hit by a speeding police car and almost died.

“I’m sure ​I​’d previously​ ​been told what had happened​,​ perhaps many times​ but, for some reason, my brain decided that this was the day that it finally stuck.

“​I was shocked by this news, but then I looked in the mirror and knew that it was true.

Caroline Breure

“For the first time I saw my terrible injuries as they really were.

“I was very upset,​ of course but curiously I felt stronger, not weaker​.

“I should have been dead, but I was still alive. “

Rebuilding her life

Breure did eventually get some compensation from the Spanish police, but said it’s not enough to last more than a few years.

She’s fighting a legal case to get more.

She was also told the police officer who hit her was suspended for a year.

And finally, a year after leaving for her holiday she returned home to Bondi.

But she found friends treated her differently, she couldn’t return to work – and she split up with her boyfriend.

Breue has now moved to Portugal, and is working on growing No Saints.

She admits life can be tough.

“Every day is a new battle and sometimes I win, sometimes I lose,” she said.

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Caroline Breure before she was hit by a police car on holiday in Barcelona.

“​There are days when I almost think I’m the same as I was before the accident, and then there are days when it seems impossible to get out of bed because of the pain and confusion,” she said.

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She has co-written a book Broken Girl, with Bradley Trevor Grieve which she hopes will inspire people.

“The doctors in Spain initially told my mum that if I survived, I would probably never walk, see, hear, or speak ever again, so being able to share my story with everyone is just another wonderful way to prove them wrong,” she said.

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She was put in touch with the author by the Bloom family, after Grieve co-wrote a book about them and their adopted magpie, Penguin Bloom which was made into a film.

“I felt awful asking Caroline to relive so many horrible experiences in order to get to the truth but, in the end, thanks to Caroline’s trust and fearless transparency, we have a story unlike any other I’ve ever read, let alone written,” Grieve said.

Broken Girl: A true story by Bradley Trevor Greive and Caroline Laner Breure, Hachette Australia, $34.99, on sale now

Do you have a story? Contact journalist Sarah Swain on [email protected]

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