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Parents Of Hit And Run Victim Speaks Out About His Ordeal As Driver Is Sentenced

20-Year-Old Man Finally Looks To Move On With His Life After Six Months In Hospital


By Suzanne Rutter

The parents of a 20-year-old man, who suffered serious injuries in a road traffic collision last year, have spoken of their relief that the driver responsible for the crash has been sentenced as their son continues intensive rehabilitation to help him get his life back on track.

Jamie Slesser, from Dumpling Hall, Newcastle, suffered a traumatic brain injury and serious burns to his back and chest when a car ploughed into him as he was crossing the B1318 Great North Road, near Jesmond in Newcastle, on 1 November 2012.

The driver failed to stop at the scene and Jamie was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where doctors carried out surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain. He also underwent extensive skin grafts to treat the burns he suffered. He spent six months in hospital.

Jamie’s parents Julie and Darren Slesser have spoken out about their son’s ordeal as Stephen Passey, of Rayleigh Drive in Wideopen, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on 14 August 2013 where he was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended driving test after previously admitting to charges of drink driving, careless driving, dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have recently secured a number of interim payments from the driver’s insurance company to help Jamie to appoint a dedicated case manager responsible for supporting him through his rehabilitation.

Jamie is also working with a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team to help him get his life back on track.
Fran Mayes, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who is representing him, said: “Jamie suffered extensive, life-changing injuries in the crash in November last year and has faced some incredible challenges to regain his strength, speech and language skills and mobility. His life will never be the same again and the whole family are still coming to terms with what happened.

“Despite these struggles, he has been dedicated to his rehabilitation programme and has made good progress. A big milestone for him was seeing the driver of the car who hit him admit he was responsible for the terrible injuries he suffered and sentenced so he can finally start to accept what’s happened to him and move on with his life.

“Civil proceedings in this case are ongoing and we will continue to work with Jamie and his family to ensure he has the rehabilitation and treatment he needs to help him live as independently as possible.”

Jamie, who was studying journalism at Northumbria University at the time of the crash, was initially rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary for emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

After the operation he remained in intensive care and was put on a ventilator to help him breathe but complications set in when he suffered pneumonia. He had trouble swallowing and was fed through a tube and on 14 November 2012, he underwent skin grafts to remove tarmac embedded in his skin and to treat the burns on his back and chest. 

He continued to receive treatment at the Royal Victoria until 2nd January 2013, before being transferred to Walkergate Park Hospital for specialist neurological rehabilitation and was discharged more than three months later on 26 April 2013.

Jamie’s mum Julie said: “We are thankful and relieved that justice has been done and the driver of the car which hit Jamie has been sentenced. We can now start to move on with our lives and focus on Jamie's ongoing recovery without the court case hanging over us.  

“Over the last nine months, we have watched our son fight for his life, then fight to do all the things we take for granted such as walk, talk and eat. He has been so courageous and an inspiration to us all but it has been incredibly difficult to see him go through such an awful ordeal.

“He has hardly ever complained even though he's had brain surgery twice and skin graft operations to remove tarmac from his back and chest from being carried on the bonnet of the car for fifty metres and dragged two-hundred metres under the car, and then being left for dead. He is still fighting and will be for a long time as he tries to overcome the effects of his brain injury.

“I hope Jamie’s case shows the devastating consequences that drink driving can have on people’s lives, so that other families don’t have to go through what we have been through.”