A TAXI driver whose cab was engulfed in flames when an oncoming vehicle veered into his path before colliding with him head-on has been left unable to play with his baby daughter due to his injuries.
Cudworth man Antony Gray had to be pulled from his burning cab on Sheffield Road, Barnsley, just before midnight on January 20 last year.
The 44-year-old broke both his legs, shattered his left hip and knee and sustained a head injury, while his teenage passenger suffered a bleed on the brain and fractured eye socket.
Following the career-ending collision, Antony, who had recently married Cristiane - who was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time - instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate and received a ‘significant’ settlement which remains undisclosed.
Antony is using Road Safety Week - which runs until Sunday - to speak for the first time about the impact his injuries have had on his family and how is unable to help look after or play with his daughter Victoria, now aged 19 months.
“All I remember is coming round and seeing flames in the cab,” he said. “I was in so much pain and couldn’t move, then two men came and dragged pulled me to safety.
“After only a few seconds of being laid beside the road away from the fire I looked back at my car and the engine exploded.
“We were so excited for the future and Victoria’s birth but a lot of that changed overnight.
“Not being able to help care for Victoria has been the most difficult thing to accept - even when she was a newborn the only way I could feed her was when sat down and Cristiane had to pass her to me.
“I still can’t lift her up or take her upstairs because my injuries mean I don’t have the strength I should and I’d risk dropping her. Now Victoria is developing more and becoming inquisitive I should be chasing her round and playing with her, but I just can’t do that.”
He was taken to Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, where he underwent a number of operations and spent more than three weeks.
Antony, who had been a taxi driver for 12 years, had seven screws fitted in his left hip and knee as well as ten metal pins in his right leg.
The driver of the other vehicle pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court in October 2019, receiving a driving ban and a fine.
Lawyer Elizabeth Whitehead, who represented Antony, added: “Antony’s case vividly highlights how the serious injuries people suffer in crashes not only greatly impact on that person’s life but also the lives of their family.
“It’s vital that his case acts as a warning of the consequence innocent road users can be left to face because of the careless actions of others.”
Antony said starting rehabilitation and his faith from being a member of Love Life UK Church, founded by former Barnsley footballer Bruce Dyer, have played a major role in his progress.
Cristiane added: “Despite everything Antony has been through he’s still a wonderful husband and dad. Things haven’t been easy but we’re determined to help him make the best recovery possible
“He’s starting to make great progress through his rehab and I’m so proud of the determination he shows.
“We just hope our story acts as a warning for the need for people to take care on the roads.”