A teenager who was left for dead in a horrific ‘road rage’ hit-and-run near South Newbald has spoken for the first time about her remarkable battle back to health.
Emily Kirwin was just four years old when she was sitting in a trailer on the back of her dad’s bike when a driver stopped and reversed at speed over them before fleeing the scene.
The toddler was found by her mum, Maureen, hanging upside down in her buggy, which was mangled beneath the Range Rover’s wheels.
Emily’s head injuries were so severe that medics feared she would not survive.
Now 18, Emily, from North Cave, went on to make a full recovery but it took years of treatment. Only recently could medics say for sure there had been no long-term damage.
Now, 14 years on, Emily can finally put it behind her after settling a civil case against the driver’s insurers for an undisclosed, five-figure sum.
She said: “In a way it was worse for my parents because they witnessed the accident, whereas I can only remember waking up in hospital. I’d been in a coma for six days.
“My jaw was broken – I’d lost most of my baby teeth – my nose was fractured and I couldn’t focus properly. I didn’t even have the strength to walk for weeks.
“There was a chance I could have developed epilepsy and I’ve had to have regular scans to check there was no long term damage.The regular trips to hospitals are just something I have had to get used to.
“My face is still slightly distorted, but fortunately for the most part I have made a good recovery.”
The driver gave himself up to police and was jailed for two years after admitting dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily harm and failing to stop after the incident in June 2002. He was also banned from driving for two years.
Emily and her parents were devastated at the ‘lenient’ sentence and say, despite the time that has passed, more needs to be done to improve safety for cyclists on the roads.
Stephen, 66, suffered a badly fractured leg which took months to heal. He said: “Everyone thinks they have a right to drive, but a car is a potentially lethal weapon.
“He used his car as a weapon, but got it back after two years. Drivers need to be punished proportionately for their transgressions.”
Representing the family, Richard Crabtree, from law firm Slater and Gordon, said: “Emily suffered a significant brain injury and this case was about ensuring she was properly compensated for the long-term effects of this tragic accident and whatever care she might need in the future.
“Until recently we couldn’t be sure what those effects and care needs would be, but after such a horrendous ordeal we are delighted that she has now made a full recovery.”