The granddaughter of a woman from Tyneside who lost both legs after being dragged under the wheels of a double-decker bus says its driver has “destroyed my whole family”.
Joan Scott, now 85, is “like a shell of what she was” following the crash on 19 September 2021, Sarah Scott said.
When she saw on social media that a woman with a walking stick had been involved in an incident in Wallsend, she knew it was her “grandma” and went straight to the scene.
“There were still fire engines and the bus was still there,” Sarah said.
“There were hundreds of people videotaping.”
Sarah added: “When we first got told she was going into surgery they said they would try their best to save her legs but at this point we didn’t know one was amputated at the scene.”
But neither of Joan’s legs could be saved.
Now, nearly two years on, the driver of the bus, Scott Cliff, has been jailed for 27 months for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He said he had closed the doors on Joan because he thought she had tried to board before without a pass.
Cliff admitted the charge on the basis he did not know her stick was in the door when he pulled away, dragging her under the bus, and he would not have done so had he seen it.
Now, the family are calling for all drivers to show more compassion and consideration.
“He (Cliff) has shown no remorse whatsoever,” Sarah said.
“I really hope he reflects about the decision he made that day. He destroyed my whole family.”
Joan spent a month in hospital before moving into a care home for six weeks and then back to her own home.
She had recently been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia, but the crash led to a rapid decline.
“She’s like a shell of what she was,” said Sarah.
“I go in and she really has to look at you before she realises who I am.”
Sarah gave up her job to look after Joan but it “all got too much” and Joan had to move into a care home.
Lucy Straker, campaigns manager for the road safety charity, Brake, said five people die on the UK’s roads each day and “every single crash is preventable”.
“That’s why we call on everyone to be as safe as possible every time we get behind the wheel, whatever vehicle we are using,” she said.
“You can go into autopilot mode and it’s easy to forget how devastatingly these crashes can happen.
“They happen in an instant and it’s all about those decisions we make.”