Road Safety Week; Sonia's Story
There were 1,770 road deaths in the year ending June 2018. Reduced to a statistic, that headline figure fails to deliver the emotional, human face of each of those tragedies; lives altered forever, loved ones lost and questions which may never be answered.
Sonia Carraro, a member of Winn Group, suffered the loss of her nephew, Andrew, in March 2017, when a driver lost control and hit traffic lights, with the resulting impact toppling the lights and striking the Nottingham University student, who died at the scene. She tells her story, and the impact his death has had on their family:
On the 30th March 2017 my family’s lives changed forever. Nothing could have prepared us for receiving the worst news imaginable; that my 20-year-old nephew, Andrew, had been killed in a road traffic accident.
The first few hours/days/weeks are still a blur. Trying to understand what had happened and come to terms with our loss was the hardest thing any of us had ever had to go through.
For weeks after, things were still not very clear as to what had happened. All we knew was that a 68-year-old man had been overtaking moving cars on a very busy single lane road then lost control of his car, mounted the pavement and hit the traffic lights where Andrew was waiting to cross the road. The traffic lights fell on Andrew and caused fatal head and spine injuries.
The trial went ahead in June 2019; over two years after Andrew’s death. On the morning of the trial, as we were being advised by the Police, CPS and barrister of what to expect from the following two weeks in court, the defence team requested the judge consider a Goodyear Hearing. This meant the defence could ask the judge what the maximum sentence would be if the driver was to plead guilty. The judge agreed and the driver pleaded guilty.
At the time, we were angry and very upset that the driver waited over two years and tried everything he could to get away with causing Andrew’s death. Looking back now, we were spared having to go to trial; however, the fact that the driver waited that long to admit guilt was hard to accept.
The following day we went back to court for sentencing. After a very emotional and hard few hours in court with the barristers reading their opening statements, family reading their victim impact statements and the judge summarising everything, the judge gave the sentencing. The driver was given a six-month curfew, an 18-month community order and a 15-month driving ban.
Since Andrew’s death, my family has been broken and life will, and can, never be the same again. We have lost a very special grandson, son, brother, nephew, cousin, boyfriend and friend.
Andrew was not just my nephew and godson, he was also a great friend. We’d facetime, text and speak regularly and we were inseparable when the family were together. From the day Andrew was born, he had a special place in my heart. Andrew meant the world to me, and I am grateful I had him in my life for 20 years, but accepting I’ll never see him again hurts beyond words.
Andrew was studying Biochemistry at Nottingham University and had such a bright future ahead of him. He loved being at university and I loved hearing about all his adventures. I was so proud of him.
Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and each one is preventable. Step up for Safe Streets and do your bit for a safe and healthy future. Find out more about how you can Step Up for Safe Streets here.
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