Dan Black, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, December 2009
On a December morning in 2009, Dan was cycling his normal route to work when he was knocked off his bike by a 73-year old driver. The moment the car collided with Dan, his back was broken resulting in a spinal cord injury. There was also damage to Dan’s carotid artery, which meant the flow of blood to his brain was cut, causing a stroke. Dan had to be put into a drug-induced coma for 6 weeks. Dan was left tri-plegic, with no movement or feeling in his legs or right arm.
The police investigation following the incident had many faults, which resulted in the case being dropped by the CPS: the driver’s eyesight was not tested at the scene, even though Dan’s family was told it had been; Dan’s reflective clothing, which was cut off by paramedics, was later disposed of by the hospital because the police did not collect it; the reflective clothing was not mentioned in the police report sent to the Crown Prosecution Service; Dan’s bicycle lighting was described as inadequate in the police report, yet complied with British standards; and the driver’s illegal manoeuvre, which put his car in the position where the collision occurred, was not mentioned in the police report. The CPS decided to drop the case due to it ‘not being in the public interest’ and because of Dan’s ‘poor lighting’.
As there was no prosecution Dan’s family had to do all the evidence-gathering to demonstrate the driver’s negligence, before they could claim the compensation Dan now depends on for his long-term care.