A teenager who was left for dead in a horrific ‘road rage’ hit-and-run has spoken for the first time about her remarkable battle back to health.
Emily Kirwin, then just four years old, was in a trailer on the back of dad Stephen’s bike when the driver stopped and reversed at speed over them both before fleeing the scene.
The toddler was found by mum Maureen hanging upside down in her buggy, which was mangled beneath the Range Rover’s wheels, and with such severe head injuries medics feared she would not survive.
Thankfully, she went on to make a full recovery, but it took years of treatment and it was only recently when she turned 18 that medics could say for sure there had been no long-term damage.
Fourteen years on from the crash that nearly claimed her life, 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 of the car later 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 near South Newbald, East Yorkshire, in June 2002. He was also banned from driving for two years.
Emily and her parents, from North Cave, East Yorkshire, were devastated at the ‘lenient’ sentence and say, despite the time that has passed, more still needs to be done to improve safety for cyclists on the roads.
Stephen, 66, whose injuries included a badly fractured leg which took months to heal, 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.
“We used to go out cycling together a lot as a family, but now the only time we can do that and feel safe is off road or abroad in countries like Holland where cycle lanes are separate from the cars.”
Representing the family, Richard Crabtree, from law firm Slater and Gordon, which specialises in cycling injury claims, 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.”