National Road Victims Month - Margaret’s Story Date published: 9th August 2017 9.17am

Over the past year the lives of more than 400 families have been torn apart as a result of collisions in Cheshire.

A total of 28 families are now without loved ones and another 378 people are now living with serious injuries which will affect them for the rest of their lives.

This month, as part of National Road Victims Month, Cheshire Police is highlighting some of the cases to show the impact long term.

One recent case was a serious collision which left a 50-year-old woman from Winsford with serious injuries.

On the morning of Monday 19 June 2017 Margaret was on her way home from work on the A533 Davenham Bypass when the car she was driving, a grey Seat Ibiza, was hit head on by a black Mercedes lorry.

The lorry was being driven by Stanislaw Michalski, 53, from Tuchowicz, Poland. At the time of the collision he was driving on the wrong side of the road and was drunk, with a reading of 78mg per 100ml - more than double the legal limit of 35mg.

Michalski appeared at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday 26 July where he was sentenced to 32 months in prison and banned from driving for five years after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Whilst many people might think that the sentencing is the end of the story, for many victims and their families this is not the case. Here’s Margaret’s story six weeks on from the crash…

Margaret said: “On the night of the collision I was just driving home as normal, my life was great and I’d recently achieved my ambition having started my dream job as a tram driver in Manchester - little did I know that my whole life was about to change forever.

“I still get flashbacks to the night of the crash. I was driving on the bypass, then suddenly as I went around the bend the headlights of the HGV were shining in my face and my car bonnet was abruptly crumpled in in front of me. I knew instantly that my legs were crushed.

“I just felt trapped, there was nothing I could do - I’m so grateful for the people who stopped at the scene, called the emergency services and then supported me. I ’ve also got to say a huge thanks to all of the emergency services - Police, Fire, Ambulance - and the fantastic trauma team at the Royal Stoke Hospital who rebuilt my legs and looked after me so well.

“Following the crash I spent over a month in hospital, first at the Royal Stoke, then Leighton before moving to Elmhurst Recovery Centre in Winsford.

“Now, six weeks on, I’ve finally been able to return home, although I am still in extreme pain. I’m currently learning to walk again; meaning that I’m relying on support from my friends and family.

“The impact of the crash on my life has been huge. All the stress and expense he has caused my family - I would liken it to throwing a pebble into a pool; it just keeps gets bigger and bigger and impacting on my whole family.

“One of the biggest areas affected is my finances, since the crash my income has been drastically reduced, yet I still have to pay my mortgage and all of my other bills.

“The crash has also affected so many other things, it happened on my daughter’s birthday, meaning the day was totally ruined for everyone.

“I feel like I’ve abandoned my teenage son and left him to fend for himself. He’s only just started his first job and I should be there to support him – but instead he’s the one supporting me, I just feel useless.

“It’s also the simple things, I can no longer look after my grandson, go out for a quick walk with the dog or go out for a ride on my motorbike. I’ve also lost my car, which was a total write-off, and I honestly don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to face driving again.

“Despite everything that I have been through, and whilst I don’t yet know what the long term effects of the collision will be, I’m determined not to let Stanislaw ruin my life, which is why I will do everything I can to return to work and get my life back to normality.”