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Appeal for witnesses in tragic hit and run case
Lawyers representing the family of an elderly Dunstable woman tragically killed in a hit and run incident are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
The 75-year-old woman and her husband, who is 73, were both hit by a car while walking in Luton town centre on Tuesday 12 October last year. Although the man miraculously escaped any serious physical injury, his wife died from her injuries in hospital ten days later.
Polly Herbert, a lawyer specialising in serious and fatal road collisions, is hoping that witnesses will come forward and help the victim's husband and their family in their pursuit of justice.
"The victim's husband was himself injured in the incident, so it's vital that anyone who saw this incident comes forward with information," said Mrs Herbert, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP. "He remembers holding his wife's hand and that they were crossing Cardigan Street, towards the mouth of the junction with Dunstable Road, at about 11 o'clock in the morning," she said.
Mrs Herbert explained that an Arriva bus was stationary in the inside lane of the dual carriageway at the top of the junction with Inkerman Street, but there was no traffic on Cardigan Street where the couple were crossing. "The couple had almost crossed the road and were just stepping onto the pavement, when a blue Vauxhall Vectra car came speeding past the bus in the outside lane of Dunstable Road," she said. "The car suddenly turned towards Cardigan Street, appearing from around the bus, just as it was beginning to set off. The car driver, who travelled down Cardigan Street on the wrong side of the carriageway, then hit both the man and his wife.
"He was thrown up into the air and struck his head on the windscreen, while his wife was thrown to the floor, leaving her with a fractured hip," said Mrs Herbert. "What happened next was just incredible. The driver of the Vectra actually stopped his vehicle and offered to take the couple to hospital, parking his car on the pavement. But moments later, as the man's attention was distracted by his injured wife's pain, the driver fled the scene."
The pensioner, who is a retired garage mechanic, said he believed the driver had left just as the paramedics were arriving - the car was later found abandoned in nearby Inkerman Street.
"Although both he and his wife were rushed to Luton & Dunstable Hospital, miraculously my client did not suffer a serious head injury and he was later discharged," said Mrs Herbert. "His wife was transferred to St George's Hospital, Tooting, where she remained until she sadly died on 21 October."
Police later identified and traced the driver, but Mrs Herbert said because he is now the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, police are not allowed to release any witness accounts of the incident to the victim's family and their lawyers. "If we are to secure compensation to help pay for the future care of the couple's daughter, who has Cystic Fibrosis and has undergone a heart and lung transplant, we urgently need witnesses to come forward with their description of what happened," she said.
Mrs Herbert said the driver was of Asian origin, in his 30s, driving a blue Vauxhall Vectra registration R777 NGA. "We are also very keen to speak to the driver of the Arriva bus," she said. "It is likely they remember having a 'near-miss' with the blue car on that day, and we believe the bus driver may have provided much needed assistance to both my client and his wife following the incident.
"This couple had lived in their home in Dunstable for more than 50 years since they were married. This act of recklessness, compounded by the driver's cowardice, has taken a loving and beloved wife and mother away from this family.
"If we are to help them secure the financial support they will need in the coming years, we urgently need anyone who might have helpful information about the incident - no matter how small or insignificant they think it might be - to come forward," said Mrs Herbert.
"The victim's family are still suffering the aftermath of losing their loved one. It is only right that those responsible are held to account for this tragic loss."
Can you help?
If you remember seeing the incident near the junction of Cardigan Street and Dunstable Road in Luton, at around 11am on Tuesday, 12 October 2010, please contact Polly Herbert at Fentons Solicitors LLP on 0161 238 6402.
Alternatively please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and any detail could be hugely important to this case.
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