A moving letter written by eight-year-old Isabelle Elce should be enough to make anyone think twice before drinking and driving.
It’s written to the ‘man who drank the alcohol’ who was responsible for a head-on crash in Nottinghamshire which ‘nearly killed her mummy’.
Young Isabelle was so upset about what happened to her mum that, unbeknownst to anyone, she went to her bedroom and decided to put pen to paper, appealing to the drink driver to ‘please don’t ever do that again’ as well as hoping to persuade others not to drink and drive.
Her mum Amelia is still suffering physically and psychologically following the crash which happened on the A60 Leeming Lane North at Mansfield Woodhouse during the early hours of 21 September 2019.
The crash has had an enormous impact on her whole family – including her husband Adam and her other daughter Chloe, 6.
Amelia was driving home from a 24-hour Asda store when she noticed a car coming towards her.
“I just thought it was coming round one of the bends, but after about three seconds I suddenly realised it was on my side of the road and heading straight towards me.
“I instantly started to think about what I needed to do to get out of the way of the vehicle, but I knew it was going to hit me straight on.
“It went into the front of my car, sending it into a spin and then into a ditch. Once my vehicle had come to a stop, I remember a lot of blood running down my face.
“I couldn’t get out of the driver’s door due to the damage to it and my car being tipped over. I managed to push the passenger door open and started to shout for help.”
The driver of the other car, 35-year-old Tomasz Niedziela, was arrested by officers at the scene.
A blood sample was taken, and Niedziela was found to have no less than 156 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
The legal limit is 80mg.
The letter written by Isabelle said:
“To the man who drank the alcohol on that night when you drank alcohol and went in your car you nearly killed my mummy!
“She had to go in an ambulance with blood pouring out of her head and I nearly didn’t have a mummy anymore.
“So please don’t ever do that again.
Niedziela, of Garnon Street, Mansfield, subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol.
He was sentenced at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 12 December 2019 where he was given a 20-month driving ban, fined £590 and ordered to pay a £59 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
His ban can be reduced by 152 days if he completes a drink drive course before 10 January 2021.
“This incident has really affected me. I haven’t driven a vehicle since, and I’m scared to be on the road, even as a passenger.
“I hope I can recover from this incident and that I will drive again one day, but currently this seems a long way away.
“I’m recovering physically, but mentally I’m not doing so well. I’ve not been sleeping well since the collision and been prescribed sleeping tablets due to how I’ve been affected.
Amelia’s car was written off following the collision
“I’ve also been referred for physio treatment and counselling.
“I feel like I’ve lost my independence following this incident and I’m worried what lasting injuries I might have.
“My children see me in a distressed state whenever I have to go out and do anything, which is upsetting me and my family further.
“When my husband Adam turned up at the scene of the crash that night I’d never seen him look so pale. He saw the car before seeing me in the ambulance covered in blood.”
“I’m so proud of Isabelle for writing her letter which has already had more than 1,400 shares on Facebook.
“She wrote it completely on her own within a couple of days of the crash. She’d obviously heard us talking about what happened and quietly took herself off to her bedroom to write it.
“When she presented her letter to us we were all so shocked. She asked if we could send it to the driver, but we told her that even if didn’t reach him if one person saw and read her letter on Facebook it might make them think twice about drinking and driving.
“She’s so loving, and we’re all so proud of her. I’d also like to thank all of my family and friends for the support they’ve given me since the crash.
“I just hope that Niedziela realises the massive impact his actions have had on me and my family and that by sharing my story it makes people think twice about getting behind the wheel after having a drink.”
Chief Inspector Claire Rukas, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:
“Isabelle’s letter shows just how damaging and impacting drink driving can be.
“She could have lost her mum due to the reckless actions of Niedziela. I hope Isabelle and her family continue to recover from this traumatic incident and on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police I’d like to wish them all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
CI Rukas added:
“Just one drink or drug driver on Nottinghamshire’s roads is one too many.
“Our message is simple – drink and drug drivers will not be tolerated on Nottinghamshire’s roads.
“Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is always a significant danger, but at Christmas, the risks are even more prevalent with darker nights, bad weather and sadly, more people taking the risk by drinking or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel.”
During last year’s drink and drug drive campaign run by Nottinghamshire Police (1 December 2018 to 1 January 2019) 144 people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving, 23 people of suspicion of drug driving and three people on suspicion of drink and drug driving.
Of the number of drink drivers arrested, 48 had been involved in a collision.
Seven of the drink drivers we arrested during last year’s campaign provided evidential specimens over three times the drink drive limit (35 ugs).
The highest reading was 190 ugs – more than five times the limit.
Last year’s figures compare with 97 drink-drive arrests and 12 drug drive arrests during the previous year’s campaign (1 December 2017 to 1 January 2018).
CI Rukas added:
“Sadly, the results of our campaign last year show that, despite our repeated warnings, people are still prepared to put the lives of other road users and their own at risk while under the influence.
“The decision to drive when you’re over the limit takes just a split second, but the consequences could last a lifetime.
“The most costly of consequences are for those who find themselves mixed up in drink or drug drive incidents where a loved one is lost.
“The results of drink or drug driving also have massive life-changing consequences for those who commit the crime, not only in terms of a possible prison sentence but also the loss of their job, relationship and freedom to drive.
“We don’t want to spoil people’s fun this Christmas. We want people to go out and have a great time, but it’s vital that people plan ahead.
“Either be the designated driver and stay on soft drinks or arrange a lift from a friend, book a taxi or use public transport.
“If you know or suspect that someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, try to discourage them but if they won’t listen to you ring us and report them.
“Call us on 101 or 999 if there’s an immediate threat to life or property. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
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