Hit-run victim interviewed by police
THE mother of hit-and-run victim Danial Benson was left hurt and confused after being told her son could be fined for not wearing a helmet.
Danial, 14, was struck by a white utility while riding his bicycle along Dry Dock Road at Tweed Heads South last month, leaving him with two broken bones in his right arm, a broken leg, a broken shoulder and facial injuries.
The driver left the scene and passers-by tended to the injured teen.
Danial returned to his Tweed Heads South home on Sunday after nine days in hospital and three lots of surgery. He was formally questioned by police on Monday and Ms Benson said the first three questions asked of her son were whether he was wearing a helmet and if his bike was fitted with lights and reflectors. Ms Benson said she was feeling frustrated after being kept in the dark by police over details of the case.
She feels her constant enquiries, including daily calls to the Tweed Heads police station, have been brushed off and was told on several occasions that no-one could assist her because the officer handling the case was absent.
Ms Benson was also disappointed to have been informed by the media rather than police that the driver had turned himself in four days after the incident.
"We keep asking questions and they keep getting stonewalled. I need some help and I'm not getting it," she said.
Ms Benson, who has taken time off work, says she has been struggling to cater to the needs of her injured son, including having to physically lift him when he needs to go to the bathroom or shower, and was hurt that police said he could be fined. "He can't even feed himself, let alone do anything else," said Ms Benson, who said she would challenge the driver to visit their home and watch her son's struggles for himself.
"Come and look at what you have done to my son," she said.
"How could you leave him there? As a parent, I just want to know why he didn't stop."
When Ms Benson questioned police about the driver's motivations, she says she was told it was "none of her concern".
"My son could not crawl off the road to save his own life and you're telling me it's none of my business?"
Sergeant Brad Stewart of Tweed Heads police could not confirm whether Danial would be penalised for riding his bike without a helmet. "Police have got discretion to warn juveniles in respect to minor offences like that," he said yesterday.
Despite officers telling the Tweed Daily News that Ms Benson and Danial's father, Laurie, had requested police not to talk to their son until after his surgery, the boy's mother says this was not the case. She says she pressed them to come and take a statement from her son. Ms Benson said she just wanted answers, and that it would help give her and her family some closure.