Friday, 20 July 2018

Drunken crash ‘saved’ my life

A DRINK-DRIVER who smashed his car into a bus was told the crash could have saved his life.

A DRINK-DRIVER who smashed his car into a bus was told the crash could have saved his life.

Simon Narracott, a failed Henley council candidate, was taken to hospital after the crash where it was found he had a lump on one of his kidneys.

He is now waiting to hear whether the growth is malignant.

He said: “They said the accident may have saved my life.”

Mr Narracott, 52, formerly of Gainsborough Crescent, Henley, was speaking after being banned from driving for 22 months and fined £1,000 at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week. He was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £85 costs and to attend a drink-driving course.

The court heard he had crashed his black Range Rover into a bus on Reading Bridge on July 26, causing major delays as the road was shut for two hours.

Two passengers on the bus were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

He was breathalysed at the roadside after a police officer smelt alcohol on his breath and arrested.

Later that day he took a blood test which showed he was over the legal limit. Mr Narracott, who admitted drink-driving, told the Henley Standard how he went to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading hours after the incident.

He said: “After the crash I was checked over by the ambulance that was there. I think they just took one look, saw I was standing and thought I must be fine.

“I was walking round as if I was fine. I think the reality was I was probably in shock more than anything else.

“After a few hours the shock had worn off and it got worse so I went to accident and emergency.”

He was given a chest scan, which revealed he had a broken sternum.

Mr Narracott said: “The sternum covers the heart and other major organs so they gave me a full scan and the doctor told me my kidney was a full lump of black.

“I have had a small pain in my back for a number of years but I am of a generation who would say they had a pain but just got on with it. I thought they were going to explain the damage I had done to my bones but they said they had some other news. They said the accident may have saved my life.

“The doctor basically pointed, saying it’s very likely to be cancer but couldn’t say whether it is malignant.”

Mr Narracott, who works in IT, is now awaiting the results of tests while he recovers from his injuries, which could take up to six months.

He said: “The letter I got said the kidney was a full mass of black. They won’t confirm anything until they have done further tests.

“They have done a full MRI scan and I’ve got a meeting about that. They are going to talk to me about it.

“I have no idea what the process is, what happens next or what the options are.

“I didn’t even know you could get cancer of the kidney, I thought it was the liver and the lungs.”

Mr Narracott, who has a 17-year-old daughter called Isabelle, said: “I’m not a negative person. I’m happy to talk about it because if I had not had my accident I would still be walking round normally, saying I just had a pain in my back. I would still not know anything about it.

“It was a complete shock. I’m reasonably fit and not overweight. My lifestyle has not changed — I don’t smoke, or drink heavily or eat a lot of junk food.

“I look at the crash as an accident. It’s probably the wrong way to look at things but I think everything happens for a reason.

“I have lost my licence but that’s not the end of the world. I try to take away the best of anything. This is a chance for me to deal with a problem I did not know I had.”

He said he hoped that anyone reading about him who had an unexplained pain would get themselves checked by a doctor.

“If I heard about someone else in a similar situation, it would make me think ‘maybe I should do something about it’,” said Mr Narracott, who now lives in Orts Road, Reading.

The court heard how Mr Narrcott crashed into the double-decker bus at about 2.45pm.

Prosecutor Ann Sawyer-Brandish told the magistrates: “It caused extensive damage to both the vehicles and two of the passengers on the bus attended the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Fortunately, they had only minor injuries.”

Police, fire and ambulance services all attended the scene and Mr Narracott was breathalysed.

Mrs Sawyer-Brandish said: “The officer noticed he had the smell of alcohol on his breath. He had a test on the side of the road, which he fully complied with and he was checked over by paramedics.

“He measured 79 [milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood] in his blood test when he was interviewed later that day.”

The legal limit is 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.

Mrs Sawyer-Brandish said Mr Narracott admitted to police that he had been driving the vehicle.

She added: “He stated he did not recall drinking that day but had a drink the day before of vodka with tonic water.

“He had poured the rest of the vodka in the tonic water bottle. He had drunk a lot of tonic water and that tonic water was the only explanation.”

Mr Narracott, who represented himself in court, said: “I was moving house and it could have been the night before I had a vodka and tonic.

“On the day of the accident I had been drinking tonic water from first thing in the morning. I was moving from Henley to Reading so it fitted with that.”

Sentencing him, presiding magistrate Victoria McCullum said there were “significant aggravating factors” with the crash.

She said: “People were injured and taken to hospital. Because of the location and time of the incident there would have been a high amount of traffic and pedestrians in the vicinity.

“We have taken into consideration your personal mitigation and that you co-operated with police and are of previous good character.”

If he completes his 16-hour drink-driving course, Mr Narracott’s driving ban will be reduced by 22 weeks. When the ban finishes he will have to re-apply for a driving licence.

Mr Narracott apologised for the accident, saying: “The magistrates spent a lot of time deliberating.

“I think the punishment was a bit harsher than if I had hit a bollard but it was fair anyway.”

Last year, he ran for election to South Oxfordshire District Council and Henley Town Council as a representative of Henley Residents’ Group but did not win a seat on either.

He is no longer a member of the party as he has moved out of the area.

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