Monday, 17 December 2018

Girl, 16, struck by car and then shouted at by driver

A TEENAGE girl has told how she was hit by a car as she walked home from school in Henley

A TEENAGE girl has told how she was hit by a car as she walked home from school in Henley and then sworn at by the driver.

Harriet Richardson, 16, a pupil at Gillotts School, was crossing Wootton Road when she was clipped by the grey Honda Civic and knocked to the ground.

She suffered cuts and bruises but when the male driver stopped he didn’t check that she was okay but swore at her because of a dent in his wing mirror caused by the impact.

Harriet, of Bell Street, Henley, said: “He got out of the car and had a massive go at me for denting it.

“He was swearing at me and calling me all sorts of names. He then got back in the car and said he would call the police.”

Harriet, who was with a friend when the accident happened, said she wasn’t to blame.

She said: “I was well over halfway across the road and was just stepping on to the pavement when the car hit my arm and foot quite hard. It’s not like I stepped out in front of him.”

Harriet claimed impatient drivers often pretended to accelerate towards pupils walking in groups in the street.She said: “A lot of them tend to speed up slightly then stop to scare us and make us scatter. We usually do get out of the way in time.

“People think this man probably tried to do that but misjudged it and hit me. They also said he was over the double yellow lines at the time.

“I didn’t even realise I had been hit until he got out of the car. It hurt a lot and then I thought maybe something bad had happened but it was mainly shock.”

Harriet managed to hobble to the One Stop shop in Greys Road and called the Henley Pet Shop in Bell Street, which is run by her parents Tim and Alex. She was in tears when her mother collected her.

Mrs Richardson was “shocked” when she found out what had happened.

She said: “When my husband came back from the shop and told me she had been hit by a car the worst thoughts came through my mind. I was pretty relieved because it could have been much worse. She was very lucky the car didn’t pull her under the wheels.”

Mrs Richardson took her daughter to Townlands Hospital and then the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading for an X-ray and reported the incident to the police.

Harriet, who is studying for her GCSEs, needed to use crutches for two days after the accident on Monday last week and since then has been taken to and from school by her mother.

She said: “I will be okay to cross the road at some point but I will make sure there isn’t a car coming.”

Mrs Richardson, who has another daughter called Annabel, nine, said Harriet was sensible.

She said: “I’ve always instilled in her the importance of road safety, such as never having headphones on and always looking.”

She said she was angry with the driver, whom Harriet estimated was in his forties.

“If you hit someone for any reason you should stop to make sure they are all right, whatever has happened,” said Mrs Richardson.

“I just want an explanation about why he drove off without checking that she was okay.”

Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: “We are investigating this matter as it could easily have been a lot worse.

“If motorists have concerns with the way that young people use the roads then they should make representations to the school.

“Equally, parents should ensure that their children understand the dangers posed by roads and cars and that they stick to the pavements.”

Catharine Darnton, headteacher at Gillotts, said: “We do regularly remind our students about the importance of road safety. It takes young people time to learn to understand the risks of traffic and we do rely on drivers to be considerate, especially as children are travelling to and from school.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident, which happened at abut 3.40pm. Anyone with information should call the police non-emergency number 101.

not my poor dad’s fault.” Mr Page, a geophysicist, wrote to the council asking for the demand letters to stop and for a letter of apology to be sent to her father.

The reply stated that the council “would not be pursuing this matter”.

Mrs Page said: “We all breathed a sigh of relief and thought ‘thank goodness, we have got there’.

However, when Mr and Mrs Kozakiewicz received their council tax statement for 2013/14 in March it stated they were in arrears of £170.

Mrs Page fears the threatening letters will start again.

She said: “I feel it will only be a matter of time before they start threatening the bailiffs and court again.

“I am not phoning them again because we are sick of phoning them, writing to them and getting nowhere.

“There is no care or thought about my father. They make the right noises but then their actions prove they have taken no notice.”

She said her father was not well and her stepmother was naturally anxious and the letters had caused the couple unnecessary stress.

Mrs Page, who has ME, said: “My husband said, ‘shall we just pay it as it would be cheaper than a solicitor’ and I said, ‘no way, we are not paying it again for my father’s sake and for other older people who are treated like this’.

“This is driving me mad. Every day I am battling with fatigue and every time I go to see my father he has got the council worrying him.”

Mr Kozakiewicz, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and takes medication for a heart complaint, said: “It makes your blood boil. I don’t understand how this has happened. I have worked hard and saved hard all my life. They just care about money.”

He moved from Poland to England with his mother in 1947 and has lived in Checkendon for more than 50 years. He worked as a forester until he was almost 75.

A council spokesman said: “Although the council wasn’t pursuing it, an administrative error meant the historic charge of £170 wasn’t cleared from the customer’s account as it should have been.

“We have contacted our finance partners to request that it be removed now and we apologise for any concern caused.

“We work hard to maximise council tax collections and our efforts have resulted in continuous improvement and record collections rates, which this year hit almost 99 per cent.”

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