Spanish Authorities Turn Down Application For Police To Resume Probe To Trace Driver Who Fled Scene
Lawyers acting for the family of a British mum fatally injured in a hit-and-run in Tenerife have appealed a decision by Spanish authorities which refuses the re-opening of criminal proceedings relating to the crash.
Michelle Exton, from Dronfield, Derbyshire, was on holiday in the Canary Islands when she and her mum, Ann, were hit by a white van which mounted the pavement.
Michelle, aged 50, suffered catastrophic head injuries. She was taken to hospital but died four days later as a result of her injuries. Ann, aged 75, suffered serious rib injuries in the crash which happened near the resort of Golf del Sur.
Spanish Police launched a hunt to trace the van driver. However, just three weeks after the incident a judge ‘stayed’ the investigation, meaning the case was closed and police were effectively barred from investigating further.
Michelle's family asks lawyers for help
Following the decision Michelle’s family, including daughters, Sophia, 23, and Jess, 14, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate. The legal experts filed court documents in Spain asking that a judge re-open the case. However, this application has been rejected, prompting lawyers to appeal the decision.
Expert Opinion“What has happened in the last couple of months with attempting to come to terms with the awful events of Michelle’s death and then the decision to close the investigation has been incredibly difficult for all her family.
“They still firmly believe that the original decision to close the investigation was made too soon and before all lines of enquiry could be thoroughly explored.
“Understandably Michelle’s family are extremely disappointed that the application to re-open the proceedings has been turned down. However, we’re determined to help them and so we have appealed the decision.
“We urge the Spanish authorities to work alongside us and Michelle’s family so they can be provided with the answers they deserve.” James Riley
Appeal for witnesses following fatal Tenerife crash
Michelle and Ann were on a road leading from Las Chafiras to Golf del Sur in the south of the island when the crash happened at about 8.30pm local time on Sunday, 11 December, 2022.
Following the collision, the driver briefly got out of the vehicle and saw the couple on the ground, before driving off.
Ann spent the night in hospital having sustained rib trauma, cuts and bruises.
The family are appealing for witnesses, including British tourists who will have been on holiday at the time, to come forward with information about the driver and the collision.
The driver is described as a white man, approximately 5ft 8ins tall with a bald or closely shaven head. The passenger side wing mirror of the white van fell off in the collision and was left behind at the scene.
The family have been told that the police believe that the van could have been a Renault Traffic, a Nissan Primastar or a Vauxhall Vivaro.
Michelle's family determined to get answers
Sophia said: “We’ll never get over losing Mum especially in the circumstances we did and believe that her death should have been avoided.
“That she’s no longer in our lives is something we will never get over, but what makes things worse is that the driver is out there still able to live his life.
“Mum was the person in our family that everyone looked to for support. She was a truly loving person and nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Mum went out of her way to help others. We know nothing can bring her back but we now want to help her by at least establishing answers as to what happened and obtaining justice in her memory.
“We can’t thank enough those people who have already come forward with information about the collision. However, we need as much detail as possible to hopefully make the Spanish authorities see why the investigation needs to be re-opened so we’d be so grateful for any further details. Even the smallest piece of information could make all the difference.”
How witnesses or those with information about the collision can help
Anyone with information about the collision or the van or driver, is asked to contact James Riley at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 203 5361 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about our expertise in helping families following an accident abroad at our dedicated holiday accidents claims section. Alternatively to speak an expert contact us or call 0808 291 3581.