West Yorkshire Police officer hit by drunk driver feared he would never see his children again

A police officer has told how he  feared he would never see his two children again when he was struck by a drunk driver and seriously injured.

By Mark Lavery
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 5:10 pm

PC Stephen Wales recalled his ordeal as he helped launch a new campaign reminding people of the potential cost of drink or drug driving in the run up to Christmas.

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West Yorkshire Police have today (Dec 1) released a video featuring PC Wales, who nearly lost a leg and has still been unable to return to work after he was hit by a drunk driver in July.

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PC Stephen Wales

PC Wales had been speaking with two revellers outside the Black Horse pub on Westgate in the early hours of July 11 this year when a drunk driver suddenly careered into them in her Renault Megane.

The injuries caused were so severe, two of the victims - including a mum-of-two - had to be resuscitated at the scene and both lost a leg.

PC Wales also suffered serious leg injuries but surgeons were able to avoid amputation.

In the video, father-of-two PC Wales said he was thrown 20 to 30 ft by the force of the impact, adding: "I could feel blood pouring from my right leg and I was looking towards my right leg, it was bent the wrong way. That's when I knew I was severely injured.

"At that point I feared I would never see my little girls ever again."

Throughout December, the force will be releasing a series of videos of real incidents, showing the impact of drink or drugs on people’s ability to drive.

The Roads Policing Unit will also be tweeting details of all arrests for drink or drug driving this month using the hashtag #WYPTheCost.

On December 11, there will be a roads safety event held in City Park, Bradford, where members of the public can learn about the potential dangers of drink or drug driving with West Yorkshire Fire Service giving demonstrations of extracting a ‘casualty’ from a scrap car.

There will also be a fire appliance, ambulance, police cars, a police motorbike and a police off-road bike, as well as other kit for members of the public to look at.

For the first time in West Yorkshire, there will be court rooms at both Leeds and Bradford Magistrates Courts specifically for drink drive cases arising from the December drink drive campaign.

The first of these is on Thursday, December 23, meaning that any drivers caught drink or drug driving in the next couple of weeks could be facing a driving ban and fine by Christmas.

Each year, West Yorkshire Police supports the National Police Chief’s Council’s (NPCC) Christmas Drink/Drug Drive campaign.

Last year, in total from December 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021, there were 164 arrests for drink driving,156 arrests for drug driving and 21 people arrested for failing to provide a sample.

Chief Inspector Katy Woodmason, Head of West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “We know that over the Christmas period there tends to be an increase in family meet-ups, work dos and social gatherings, which can all contribute to an increase in, particularly, drink driving both on the night and the morning after.

“Last year for the first time, potentially due to pubs and bars being closed because of the pandemic, we saw nearly the same amount of arrests for drug driving as drink driving.”

One of the videos which will be released later this month shows a man who had been arrested on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs doing a Field Impairment Test (FIT).

The test - which includes being asked to walk in a straight line and other exercises - is designed to establish whether a driver is impaired and is done in addition to a breath test for alcohol and drugs wipe for cannabis and cocaine.

Chief Inspector Woodmason said: "Both drink or drugs can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to drive and the consequences can be catastrophic.

"This winter season we are urging people to plan ahead and think about how they are going to get home and whether they need to put other arrangements in place to do the school run or get to work the morning after a night out.

"If you are caught drink or drug driving, the cost to you could be a significant fine and a ban from driving, but that is the best-case scenario. We don’t want to be knocking on any doors this December telling a family that their loved one won’t be home for Christmas because they have been seriously injured or died in a collision caused by a drink or drug driver."

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