I'm lucky to be alive, says maimed Pleasley victim of horrific head-on smash

The maimed victim of a head-on car-smash that led to a Shirebrook driver being jailed has told how he feels lucky to be alive.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 5:14 pm
Ryan Walker's wrecked car after the head-on smash. (PHOTO BY: Rudy Walker)

Ryan Walker, 28, of Pleasley, was left with multiple injuries and needed life-saving surgery after the horrific crash last summer with a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by 33-year-old Andrzej Chmurzynski.

In a statement after a court case this week, Ryan said: “My life flashed before my eyes and I thought it was all over.

"I still can’t get over what happened. I’ve never been so scared in my life.

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Shirebrook man Andrzej Chmurzynski, who was jailed for two years at Derby Crown Court. (PHOTO BY: Derbyshire Constabulary)

"Thankfully, a passing car was an off-duty police officer, who rang the emergency services. After that, it’s all a blur.”

Ryan was rushed to hospital, where he was treated for bruising to his lungs, internal bleeding, a broken collarbone, three broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken kneecap. He even had to have part of his bowel removed.

At Derby Crown Court, Chmurzynski, of Recreation Drive, Shirebrook, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was handed a two-year prison sentence and banned from driving for five years by the judge, Recorder Adrian Reynolds.

Relieved Ryan said: “I’m so happy justice has been served.

The smashed-up car belonging to Andrzej Chmurzynski after the collision (PHOTO BY: Rudy Walker)

"I just remember waking up in hospital in so much pain but feeling lucky to be alive.

"I want to say a huge thankyou to all the emergency services, and also to my friends and family for their support.”

Ten months on, Ryan, who is a shift manager at McDonald’s in Mansfield town centre, has still not returned to work since the collision. He says he is suffering from “injury and pain, both physically and mentally”.

The smash happened while both cars were estimated to be travelling at about 50mph along the A617 between Pleasley and Chesterfield on Saturday, June 27, 2020.

Shocking dashcam footage of what happened, captured from Ryan’s car, was shown to the court.

Ryan was going round a traffic island when Chmurzynski’s car came into view and there was a head-on collision.

The Shirebrook man, a Polish national, did not hold a UK licence and had previously been convicted of drink-driving, the court was told.

He himself sustained two broken legs and was left wheelchair-bound for eight months after the crash.

A metal rod had to be inserted into his leg after surgery, and he had only just returned to work, the court heard.

Mr Reynolds told him: “How long you had been on the wrong side of the road for, and why you were driving on the wrong side of the road, are not completely clear.

"One inference is that you were trying to overtake another vehicle, but what is certain is that both you and the other driver suffered very serious injuries as a result.

"It is absolutely clear that the victim suffered really serious life-changing injuries.”

Jonathan Dee, prosecuting, said: “Mr Chmurzynski’s explanation was that he knew the road but simply misread it.”

Will Bennett, defending Chmurzynski, said: “It was a dreadful mistake he made.

"He was not speeding, and there were no drugs or alcohol in his system. He was not rushing or taking ludicrous risks.

"He drove on the wrong side of a road he used regularly.”