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The True Story of How Nick Bennett Ended Up in a Wheelchair

One split-second decision changed Nick’s life forever.
It was the morning of 25 July 2002 and I woke up next to my girlfriend of the time, Vicky. When Vicky was leaving for work, I decided to give her a lift to the bus stop. We piled into my Vauxhall Corsa (me being me, it was the SRI sports model). I dropped Vicky off, gave her a kiss, told her I loved her and said ‘see you tonight’. I set off for work and soon came up behind two slow vehicles. I thought ‘God they’re going slow, I’m going to overtake’. I pulled out, thought I could make it, and the last thing I remember is raising my arm to protect my face. I later found out I had driven into the path of a three tonne lorry.

I woke up in hospital three weeks later, but drifted in and out of consciousness for three months. While I was in a coma I had a "bite reflex". Anything that made me jump made me clench my teeth together even if my tongue was in the way. I had to have part of my tongue and my two front teeth removed. There were tubes and wires everywhere.

My brain stem was severely twisted in the crash. This has affected my mobility, my speech and my nervous system. I use a wheel chair and can only walk with a frame. The doctors don’t know how much I will recover.

I used to be very active – mad keen on football and keeping fit. I was a snowboarder and semi-pro footballer. I used to have a good social life, always out with mates, round my girlfriend’s or going to work. I was a trainee scientific glass blower. Most of my old friends have disappeared now so it's really only my family I see, although I have new friends. I need help with most day to day tasks - getting dressed, preparing meals, although I always try my best to do things for myself. It really bugs me needing help because I've always been so independent and haven't had to rely on anyone to help me. It’s so frustrating.

Please learn from my mistakes. Try being in a wheelchair for a day – then you’d think twice about speeding and overtaking dangerously.

Nick Bennet
Age: Unknown

A Very Lucky Escape

Our 17 year old daughter had only passed her driving test a few weeks when she had an accident. We had bought her a little car of her own, it was cute but it had no power steering and not the street cred that her father’s had so she pleaded with him to let her have one last weekend driving it before she was removed from the insurance.

The Saturday was such a nice day that she decided to take three of her friends to go to a local beach. She had never driven there before and wasn’t very sure of the country roads so she luckily she was driving much slower than the speed limit of the road. She was driving along one particular part of the road when she suddenly noticed a sign indicating a sharp right hand bend in the road. The sign was very badly obscured in the bushes, so much so that she was actually almost upon the bend before the sign became visible and she realized that the road ahead that she was intending to drive along was in fact a farmer’s lane. With experience or hindsight she may have stopped the car or driven on into the farmer’s lane but with her inexperience she tried to make the right hand bend. Unfortunately she had insufficient time to complete the manoeuvre and as a result she mounted the grass verge and put the front of her dad’s car into a very large tree which was sitting in the field behind.

Thankfully with the exception of a few bumps, bruises and scrapes neither our daughter nor any of her friends were injured although the car was past repair. Maybe this story will make you pause to think that the road you are traveling along might not be as it appears and that extreme caution should be exercised at all times.

Age: Unknown