Don’t let your car journey turn into a coffin journey

One of the pall bearers during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'
One of the pall bearers during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'

A Derry nurse has appealed to the city’s young people not to put their parents into premature mourning, simply because they couldn’t obey a few simple driving instructions.

Attracta Bradley who spent more than 30 years working in the city’s accident and emergency department, and firefighter Kieran Doherty, were at an event in the Millennium Forum on Tuesday morning educating young people in the city about the devastating effects of reckless driving.

Young performers carry a child's coffin unto the stage of the Millennium Forum during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'

Young performers carry a child's coffin unto the stage of the Millennium Forum during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'

The pair, who both worked for the emergency services, told more than 1,000 young people who gathered at the Millennium Forum for the performance of the ‘Love your Passenger, Love Yourself,’ - how the faces of the people who have been seriously injured or died as a result of car accidents have stayed with them.

‘Love your Passenger, Love Yourself’ by Irena Melly is a Greater Shantallow Community Arts show run in partnership with the DOE and Youth Justice Agency in an attempt to tackle reckless and dangerous driving.

Ollie Green from the GSCA said this was a truly magnificent performance by young people sending out a very clear message about reckless driving and how young people should look after themselves and their passengers.

“Every crash can be prevented,” he said. “It is our job to get the message to that clear target audience who are too often the casualties.

Group pictured at the Millennium Forum on Wednesday morning after the Greater Shantallow Community Arts production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself'. Included with the young performers are, from left, Councillor Elisha McCallion, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Irene Noonan, choreographer, Mark H. Durkan, Minister for the Environment, Oliver Green, Producer, Paul Ryan, Youth Justice Agency, and Kieran Doherty, District Commander, Crescent Link Fire Station, one of the speakers. (Missing from photo is Attracta Bradley).

Group pictured at the Millennium Forum on Wednesday morning after the Greater Shantallow Community Arts production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself'. Included with the young performers are, from left, Councillor Elisha McCallion, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Irene Noonan, choreographer, Mark H. Durkan, Minister for the Environment, Oliver Green, Producer, Paul Ryan, Youth Justice Agency, and Kieran Doherty, District Commander, Crescent Link Fire Station, one of the speakers. (Missing from photo is Attracta Bradley).

“One moment of careless can have devastating effects for years to come, if this event makes young people think twice or speak up then it is worth it.”

Mr Green explained that too many accidents are caused that could be prevented, because young people are speeding, texting, taking selfies or simply carrying on in the car.

Firefighter Kieran Doherty told the young people he can still see the faces of the young people he has been called to help.

“I remember rescuing a lady from a car that was upside down,” he said.

Attracta Bradley, who spent over 30 years working in A&E, now retired, pictured addressing the students at Wednesday's 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself' at the Millennium Forum.

Attracta Bradley, who spent over 30 years working in A&E, now retired, pictured addressing the students at Wednesday's 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself' at the Millennium Forum.

“She was dying and gurgling and struggling for breath.

“She was badly injured and there were pieces of her thigh lying on the ground.

“I remember treating a mother who became trapped when the dashboard of the car was driven into her pelvis. Her three children in the back were so shocked to hear their mother screaming. She lost her leg after the accident.”

Nurse Attracta Bradley said she will never forget hearing the screams of patients who were sitting in the waiting room when they saw the face of young girl who had been injured in a car accident was brought in with serious injuries.

One of the poignant scenes from Wednesday's production.

One of the poignant scenes from Wednesday's production.

“The patients in waiting room saw the girl’s face and how horrific the injuries were,” she said. “She had a huge bit of glass embedded just below her eye, right through her head, out the back of her ear. Her screams stayed with me that night and many nights to come. The girl was not wearing a seatbelt, she was thrown right through the windscreen and the force went right through her.

“I would say to your young drivers, don’t put your parents through this grief because you couldn’t follow simple driving instructions.

“They are there not to ruin your fun but to potentially safe your life.”

The event was attended by the Minister for the Environment Mark Durkan.

Kieran Doherty, District Commander, Crescent Link Fire Station pictured in conversation with Mark H. Durkan at Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.

Kieran Doherty, District Commander, Crescent Link Fire Station pictured in conversation with Mark H. Durkan at Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.

Some of the young dancers performing during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'

Some of the young dancers performing during Wednesday's production of 'Love Your Passenger, Love Yourself.'