Occasionally through my work I have witnessed things that have been beyond my comprehension. Some cruel acts have been so premeditated or extreme in their nature that they still distress me to think about them now; senseless murders, shaken babies and domestic violence for example. In other situations, I can see that no one has set out that day with the intention of doing anybody harm, but for one reason or another perhaps things took a wrong turn. A couple of weeks ago, I looked after a 7 year girl who had been walking to school with her 10 year old sister when she was involved in an incident.
The school was only a short distance away from their home and they needed to use a zebra crossing on the journey. Holding hands, they went to cross, believing that the driver was going to stop, and stepped out in front of a car driven by a young man (N.B. I wasn’t there – and therefore can’t comment on the wisdom of the girls’ judgement, the speed of the driver, or the level of concentration he was applying at the time). Unfortunately the car ‘glanced’ the younger of the sisters and she fell to the floor. Thankfully however, she sustained only minor leg injuries.
That isn’t the part of the story that upset me though – what really shocked me was that without checking on the girl, the callous driver simply sped away from the scene. With no idea what injuries he has caused her, he simply raced onwards to work to have an ‘ordinary day’ … how a human being can do that is beyond me.
Accidents can happen to the best of us, although I believe that as drivers, as far as possible we should to try to anticipate the likelihood of children crossing the road at a zebra crossing during the school run. If we drive at a speed which allows us time to respond, then if the unexpected happens we have time to minimize the risks. And, if the worst should happen, I’m sure that although most of us would be mortified, we would switch off the car engine and call 999 immediately. Leaving the scene of a ‘Road Traffic Incident’ simply compounds the situation and is quite indefensible.
I also recall being called to a more seriously injured little girl a few years ago, hit by a car on a zebra crossing. She came off considerably worse because this driving was speeding and she was thrown in to the air like a rag-doll by the force of the impact. He stopped the car and got out, but onlookers were aghast, because he bent down over her then lifted her limp little body from the road where she lay in front of his car (blocking his way) and simply moved her to the kerb. He then ran back to his car and raced off before anyone could stop him. In both these stories quick thinking bystanders made a note of the registration numbers of the cars and called for the emergency services promptly – both drivers were arrested; although I don’t know any more about either outcome beyond that.
I am concerned that the demise of the wonderful lollipop ladies and gentlemen through proposed council spending cuts will result in these types of incidents becoming more common, but what price can you put the life of a child or a lifetime of disability and care?