Holidaymaker whose boyfriend was struck by drink-driver helps launch Derbyshire Police campaign
A holiday to Bali should be the experience of a lifetime but for one holidaymaker from Chesterfield, it left her traumatised.
Amy Redhead, 23, was left suffering terrible nightmares, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder that she says will stay with her forever.
That haunting legacy was triggered the moment she watched a drink-driver run over her boyfriend, before ploughing into a wall just feet from where she was sitting.
The smash left him coated in blood with gashes to his head and part of his scalp missing, and saw the couple stranded with no one to turn to for help.
The driver, who reeked of alcohol, was sent on his way without even being arrested – but not before offering to drive the couple to hospital. They declined.
Thankfully, Amy’s partner suffered non-life-threatening injuries to his head, back and ankle. But years later, long after the dust settled on the horrific experience, Amy is still dealing with the aftermath of a collision that simply would not have happened if the driver had been sober.
The lasting impact also led to her and her boyfriend splitting up, which Amy said was due in part to her PTSD and mental health.
She is sharing her experience to help Derbyshire police launch their annual summer crackdown on drink- and drug-driving.
Over the coming weeks, officers will be on the lookout for people driving under the influence, increasing patrols on the roads, and working to educate motorists about the very real dangers of drink- and drug-driving.
Amy said: “We were waiting for a taxi to take us back to our hotel and I noticed that people were suddenly waving their hands frantically, and I couldn’t understand what was happening at first.
“When I looked to my right I saw that a car had mounted the pavement and while my ex-boyfriend was standing talking to the taxi driver, it drove straight into him and crashed into the wall where I was sitting.
“I just remember thinking if he’s still standing there at the taxi then it’s fine, the car’s just undertaken him, no problems. If he’s not still standing there, then I need to start panicking.
“I looked up and he wasn’t there. I ran over and he was just laid on the floor, and I thought he was dead. That was the first thought – that he was dead.”
When he regained consciousness, Amy helped her then-boyfriend to his feet and was shocked at the state he was in.
Amy said: “He came round from being knocked out and he was just dripping with blood, he had blood all over his face, dripping down his legs, on his shorts, and I think at that point his adrenaline and shock kicked in.
“We went straight over to the person that had hit him who stumbled out of the car and you could just smell alcohol straight away on him.
“That’s when we realised he’s been drink-driving and that’s why he had mounted the pavement and hit him.”
After Amy had returned home to Chesterfield, she found herself reliving the crash over and over again, and suffered from terrible nightmares.
Eventually, enough became enough and she went to see a doctor. She was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and said her experience – and its legacy – show that drink- and drug-drive collisions don’t just have a physical impact on the victims.
Amy said: “We were lucky compared to some people involved in similar situations. It could have been worse. My ex-boyfriend didn’t die, but this shows you don’t have to be killed or significantly injured for there to be a legacy of the drink-driver in your life.
“I’m still sitting here now and everyone around me is happy and healthy, but I will still for the rest of my life remember exactly what happened that day when the drink-driver ran him over.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD and I remember him saying he has the scars physically on his back and his head but he wishes it was the other way round and he had to deal with the mental effects after.
“He is fine now, he’s well, he healthy, but it’s three years on and I’m still struggling mentally. I don’t think people realise, yes, you can injure people physically and you can harm them significantly, but there’s also the mental health side of things where people are struggling with the effects years later, and I’m stuck with PTSD probably for the rest of my life.”