Scooter accident ruins Christmas

Jim Cross of Ballina comforts Ruth Thurgood who was injured by a runaway mobility scooter.
Jim Cross of Ballina comforts Ruth Thurgood who was injured by a runaway mobility scooter. Marc Stapelberg

RUTH Thurgood was robbed of Christmas with her grandchildren this year after being run over by a runaway mobility scooter in Ballina last Friday, December 23.

Ms Thurgood, using her wheelie walker, was struck from behind by the out of control scooter as she left her local fish and chip shop.

She was flung forward and pushed 2m across the pavement.

Her legs were then trapped under the scooter's front wheels until members of the public lifted it off.

Mrs Thurgood learned later in hospital that the driver of the mobility scooter suffered from dementia and had previously collided with other pedestrians.

"I am angry that someone with dementia can have a mobility scooter," she said.

"I think all owners of these scooters should be tested to ensure they can control the machines."

The accident left her with severe bruising, a deep cut to one leg requiring four stitches and severe abrasion to other leg.

"I had no Christmas, I had to be in bed the whole time."

"I couldn't have the family over, I couldn't nurse my grandkids on my knees and I couldn't cuddle them because my arms were jarred after the accident."

"I had Christmas on my own; I just had a sandwich and watched television."

The Roads and Traffic Authority classes people on mobility scooters as pedestrians and has no requirement for a formalised test to use one.

However, if users are concerned about their operating skills they should contact their doctor or health care professional to arrange an assessment.

Mrs Thurgood would like to see the driver charged with negligence but is not interested in suing him.

"I just want him off the street before he does damage to someone permanently."

"There was a lovely little girl doing a dance in the shop doorway who moved to the side as I was leaving the shop.

"Thank goodness she moved out of the way other wise she would have been run over as well."

Topics:  christmas family grandchildren mobility scooter

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