Friday, 6 May 2011

Spinal injury expert breaks his spine

Not a typical day today... I was at Nottingham Crown Court.

It was for the sentencing of a woman who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after crashing into a cyclist.

The victim was Donal McNally - himself a crash expert and someone I regularly feature in films on Test Tube.

Donal was cycling home in the evening of May 21 last year when he was struck down.

The driver left the scene and Donal was later found by passing motorists.

He was on bad shape and they initially thought he was "a large dog" on the road, the court heard today.

Donal had broken his neck in three places and suffered a burst fracture in his lower back.

The experts - including Donal himself - said he was very lucky to survive.

And what a twist of fate that a leading expert on crashes - and spinal injures - should find himself in such a predicament.

I filmed an interview with Donal a few weeks ago, but we couldn't upload it until the legal proceedings were finished.

Today the driver, a 28-year-old woman, was sentenced by a judge.

She was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the community.

There were no charges relating to leaving the crash scene. An expert psychologist reported that she had a "genuine memory loss" of the incident and didn't know she had struck a cyclist.

The judge said he accepted this report.

As for Donal... well, the incident has strengthened his resolve to campaign about the importance of bicycle helmets.

He insists the helmet he was wearing (and which split in two places) is what saved his life.

In addition to the video above, we plan to post another video soon about the modeling his injuries and discussing safety in general.

So watch this space.