Bereavement due to traumatic death

Stephen - Interview 12

Male
Age at interview: 49

Brief outline: In 2006 Stephen was crossing the road with his brother and brother-in-law. They were hit by a drunk driver. Stephen was severely injured and his brother was killed. The driver pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. It was a terrible shock.

Background: Stephen is an ex-carer, ex-delivery driver (unable to work due to injury). He is single and has 1 child. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

Audio & video

One night in 2006 Stephen, his brother and his brother-in-law were crossing the road. They were hit by a car that was being driven much too fast by a drunk driver.
 
Stephen’s brother, Tony, was taken to hospital but died of his injuries. He was put on life support for a while, which was later turned off.
 
Stephen’s brother-in-law sustained minor injuries but Stephen was seriously hurt. He suffered major damage to his arm and his leg. He spent five weeks in hospital and had nine operations.
 
Stephen had to cope with the pain caused by his injuries. He was also shocked by his brother’s death. He was not well enough to go to the funeral, which was a devastating blow. Tony had a church funeral and was then buried.
 
There was no inquest because the driver admitted liability and pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. The case came to court seven months later, but only took 15 minutes because of the guilty plea. The judge sentenced the driver to three and a half years in prison and banned him from driving for eight years. Stephen and his family think that the prison sentence was much too short.
 
The car crash and what happened that night has had a devastating effect on all the family. The hospital staff and the GP have offered Stephen counselling but he has declined because he does not think that talking to anyone would make the pain go away. His family has been very supportive.
 
Stephen’s injuries have left him disabled. He used to enjoy walking but cannot walk far and cannot kneel on the floor. He has had to give up work too. The emotional and economic impact has been huge. Stephen finds it hard to survive on State benefits. He has a Disability Allowance and Income Support. Stephen hopes to receive some compensation from the car insurance company.
 
Stephen says that after the incident he felt as though life was over. Time has made things seem a little bit better. Stephen helps with campaigns run by Brake, the road safety charity. He would like it to be illegal for people to drink any alcohol and then drive.
 
Stephen was interviewed in 2008.

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