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Call For Road Users To Slow Down After Child Left In Coma

Road Safety Week 22 – 28 November 2010


Serious injury specialists Irwin Mitchell are backing calls for road users to slow down after a 14-year-old girl was left in a coma following a devastating collision.

The call comes on the eve of Road Safety Week, which is encouraging drivers to think about the devastating impact collisions can have on children, with the theme ‘Kids Say Slow Down’.

Ellie Vardy, from Eckington, remains in a serious condition following a tragic car crash on Sheffield’s Mosborough Hill on 29 September.  Ellie was travelling as a passenger in a vehicle which was involved in a high speed collision, causing serious damage to the side of the vehicle in which Ellie was seated.

Currently a patient in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Ellie suffered a broken neck and a significant brain injury, together with internal injuries and several broken bones. 

She has only recently regained any level of consciousness, and is now able to recognise when her family is present, but she is still dependent on medical intervention to assist with her feeding and breathing. 

A Facebook campaign entitled ‘Wake up Ellie - we all miss you’ has generated over 5,000 members since the accident, and has been a great source of support for Ellie’s family.

Ellie’s parents and her representatives at law firm Irwin Mitchell are now urging people to back the slow down message.

Nicola and Paul Vardy said: “We want all road users to take notice of this campaign. Drivers need to slow down and take care when they are on the roads, as every collision can have potentially devastating consequences.

“Ellie’s condition shows the horrific impact a car crash can have on a child. The collision Ellie suffered has shattered our lives, and we are all desperate for her to make a full recovery and rejoin our family.”

Kate Petchey, who specialises in serious injuries at law firm Irwin Mitchell and sees the impact that road traffic collisions can have on both the victims and their family, is supporting the campaign, and urging drivers to watch their speed, especially in areas where children are more at risk.

Kate Petchey said:  “Tragically, we deal with the aftermath of road traffic collisions on a daily basis, which are particularly distressing when they involve children.

“We receive many calls where a young child has suffered life altering injuries because of a speeding driver who has not given themselves enough time to react to the unexpected, particularly in and around towns, villages, and schools where children are particularly vulnerable.  Children are injured not only when they are pedestrians hit by cars, but also when travelling as passengers in cars which speed.  All too often, it is the innocent child passenger who unfortunately suffers the consequences.

“We want to urge drivers to pay attention to the vital safety message that this year’s Road Safety Week is all about – and, as the theme says, to slow down to prevent needless injuries and deaths on the roads, and the subsequent devastation and heartache caused to families that, in many cases, can be avoided.”

The Kids Say Slow Down theme was chosen by organisers, the national road safety charity Brake, after research conducted by the charity in 2008* revealed that a third of children said they had nearly been hit by a car whilst walking without their parents, and a staggering one in 20 had actually been involved in a collision.

In 2009 a total of 37 people were killed and 493 people were seriously injured on South Yorkshire’s roads.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Wake up Ellie Fund should post contributions to: The Wake up Ellie Fund, Eckington Civic Centre, Market Street, Eckington, Sheffield.

The fund will be split, with money going towards a specialist cooling blanket for Sheffield Children’s Hospital intensive care unit and to the hospital’s Treetops family residential unit, where parents Nicola and Paul have being staying.