Biker in wheelchair after crash

Biker in wheelchair after crash

A man suffered devastating injuries as he rode his motorbike back from the shops.

A court heard how an elderly woman pulled out in front of Bob O’Callaghan, 48, leaving him with multiple injuries.

He was in intensive care at Stoke Hospital for three weeks.

Metal plates and pins have been inserted in his hips and he is awaiting further surgery.

The car driver, 82-year-old Doreen Jane Barnes, from Deeside, admitted careless driving following the crash at Bagillt on November 4.

She was fined £150 with £85 costs and a £30 surcharge and was disqualified from driving for six months.

Flintshire magistrates rejected a defence application that a driving ban would cause her exceptional hardship.

They considered it a serious case, the injuries to the victim were extensive, and it was her second conviction for careless driving within two years.

A ban would cause her inconvenience, not exceptional hardship, they ruled.

Prosecutor Brian Robinson said that the victim suffered devastating injuries which had affected his family and partner, particularly with the timing of the crash as they were in the process of moving house.

The defendant had pulled out of a side road onto the A548 at Bagillt into the path of the on-coming Kawasaki 650.

Mr Robinson said: “It is vital that motorists ‘think bike’ when emerging from junctions. Motorcyclists are so vulnerable if they come into conflict with other vehicles.”

Magistrates were told that Barnes, of Uplands Avenue in Connah’s Quay, had not seen the approaching motorcyclist.

She was full of remorse at what had happened, said defending solicitor Simon Simmons.

The defendant accepted full responsibility and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Since the incident she had taken driving lessons and followed an advanced drivers’ course and Mr Simons told the court there was a glowing reference from her instructor.

Mr Simmons said that his client was very active and needed her driving licence to help care for her husband who had alzheimers disease.

She would drive him to Chester Football Club and to the Debating Society and to go dancing in Ellesmere Port, Flint and Connah’s Quay.

Mr O’Callaghan, a coach driver of Grosvenor Road in Prestatyn, attended court in a wheelchair.

He said after the case that the lady driver pulled out straight in front of him and he had nowhere to go.

“I could not do a thing about it,” he explained.

He suffered massive injuries and was now getting about thanks to crutches and a wheelchair.

“There is still a lot of metalwork that needs to come out and I am awaiting further surgery,” he explained.

The long-term prognosis was not clear at present.

At the time of the crash they were in the process of moving house. They exchanged contracts 21 days after the incident and his partner Kirston had to move house by herself.

“It is stressful enough at the best of times, but she did it with her other half in hospital, half-dead,” he explained.

As a professional driver of many years’ standing, Mr O’Callaghan said that he saw silly things happening on the road day in, day out.

“But you don’t expect this sort of thing to happen to you,” he said.

He said that there was no point being anything other than cheerful and whatever the result of the case he had decided in advance that he would not worry or get stressed about it.

“I am glad the case is over. I don’t really know how I feel. I felt annoyed at times, but I am not going to worry about the outcome.

“There’s no point getting wound up about it. It is what it is.”

He said that the defendant did go over to him and apologise after the case was over.

“She did come and apologise. She said that she was very sorry and told me: ‘I think about you every night when I go to sleep’.

“I just thanked her for the apology and left it at that.”

See full story in the Leader

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