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Parents of brain-damaged Victoria make hit-and-run witness appeal
The parents of a young Kingstanding girl left blind and with a serious brain injury after a hit-and-run incident, have made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward in their fight to get their daughter the help she needs.
Victoria Czyzo spent six weeks in a coma after being hit by a car whilst crossing College Road on Tuesday, 23 October last year. She was just five years old at the time of the accident, and although she has finally left hospital and returned home, she has tragically lost her sight in her left eye and suffered significant brain damage.
Victoria’s parents are now hoping anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run will come forward as they begin their fight for compensation to help pay for the care Victoria needs, both now and in the future.
The family’s ordeal began when Victoria and her mother, Teresa, were making their way to their Wyrley Way home from a local supermarket at around 6.30 that evening.
“We used this particular pedestrian crossing at the same junction many times during the day,” said Mrs Czyzo, 44. “Victoria pressed the button as her dad always told her to and just like he taught her she should do. After a while the lights changed to green, there was a green man and Victoria said ‘mommy go’.”
But Mrs Czyzo said her daughter had only taken a few steps into the road when a car suddenly appeared. “She was just in front of me when the car hit her,” she said. “I shouted and dropped my shopping bags and rushed towards her. I moved to grabher clothes, but somebody next to me stopped me and said ‘do not touch her, we can't move her’.
“Some people were asking questions and offering help, but I was just in a complete state of shock.”
The driver of the Citroen Picasso car which hit Victoria initially slowed and looked as if he would stop, but then accelerated away and fled the scene. Another motorist gave chase but was unable to keep up, and it was several hours later when the driver finally handed himself in to police. He was later convicted of motoring offences.
“I wasn’t concerned about the driver at that point though,” said Mrs Czyzo. “The other pedestrian - who had grabbed my hand - dialled 999 and asked for the police and an ambulance to come quickly. I stared at Victoria, calling her name and asking her to get up, but she was unconscious and her face was covered in blood.”
Whilst Mrs Czyzo rode with her daughter to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, her husband was already at the scene of the accident – although he didn’t yet know it.
“I’d been into the city centre and got off at the bus stop near the library,” said Victoria’s father, Maciej Czyzo, 43. “The road had been closed and there were police cars and ambulances everywhere. I saw the shopping bags by the crossing and I just knew something had happened to my family.”
Mr and Mrs Czyzo – who tragically lost a child to leukaemia 13 years ago – then stayed at Victoria’s bedside as she fought for her life.
“The doctors weren’t sure she would pull through,” said Mr Czyzo, who works as a car parts manufacturer. “She was so very badly injured. She had a swollen head, part of her skull had to be removed and she was given little chance of surviving.”
But despite the serious injuries, Victoria clung to life, spending six weeks in the specialist intensive care unit where she lay in a coma. When she finally opened her eyes she was unable to communicate or move.
“She was moved from the ICU after she opened her eyes, and a couple of weeks later she finally started being able to move a little,” said Victoria’s mother. “We kept on talking and reading to her, trying to get her to hear our voices so that maybe she could say something.
“Finally she spoke. She can speak and sometimes she sings, and tries to tell stories like she used to, but she seems not as quick as before,” said Mrs Czyzo. “She does not walk and cannot move her right arm at all, and although she can move her head she cannot sit on the bed herself.”
Victoria was finally released home to her parents in April, but the severity of her injuries means that she now needs full time assistance.
Gary Herbert, a specialist brain injury lawyer representing the Czyzo family in their fight for compensation, said Victoria was likely to need professional care to help meet the challenges she would face in the future.
“The injuries she sustained were some of the most serious I’ve ever seen,” said Mr Herbert, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “Immediately following the incident, Victoria spent several weeks in a medically-induced coma. She had to undergo an operation to relieve swelling around the brain, and although she has thankfully returned to her home, her injuries are completely life-changing.
“The long-term prognosis for recovery is still unknown,” said Mr Herbert. “But what we do know is that at just six years old, Victoria - and her family - will need a lot of help and support in the future to aid her recovery.”
Doctors recently told the family that Victoria’s injury had caused her to lose the sight completely in one eye. She has difficulty communicating and has such serious mobility issues that she uses a wheelchair.
“This is a tragic situation for the family,” said Mr Herbert. “In order to secure the specialist care that Victoria will need, we have to try and piece together the full picture of what happened that evening.
“We are urging anyone who might have helpful information about the incident – no matter how small or insignificant they think it might be – to come forward,” he said. “It was a busy time of day, there were several vehicles in the areaand we know that many people also live in the immediate vicinity of the accident. Even if they only witnessed the aftermath of this tragic hit and run, they might still have information vital to this case.
“If we are to secure the help Victoria and her family need right now, and will undoubtedly need in the future, we really need witnesses to come forward.”
Can you help?
If you remember seeing the incident in College Road, near to Perry Barr Community Fire Station, Birmingham, at around 6.30pm on Tuesday 23 October 2012, please contact Gary Herbert at Fentons Solicitors LLP on 0161 238 6454 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be treated in confidence and the slightest detail could be hugely significant to Victoria and her family.
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