Family's fear for accident victim

THE father of a teenage girl who suffered terrible head injuries in a road crash has said she will be brain damaged and possibly paralysed if she survives.

By James Mortlock

THE father of a teenage girl who suffered terrible head injuries in a road crash has said she will be brain damaged and possibly paralysed if she survives.

But Simon Parkes, whose 16-year-old daughter Deborah was still fighting for her life in hospital last night, said he was confident the teenager would win her battle.

Mr Parkes and his wife, Wendy, were given fresh hope this weekend when the second of Deborah's eyes responded to a shining light – 24 hours after similar reactions were detected in the other eye.

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Deborah was walking to work at the Red Lodge Transport Café – only a few hundred yards from her home in the village near Mildenhall - on Wednesday morning when she was in collision with a van.

The impact of the crash was so severe that Deborah was thrown through a brick wall and several feet into a neighbouring garden in Turnpike Road.

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Mr Parkes said his daughter was still in a critical condition in the world-renowned head injuries unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

And he said a planned operation to mend one of her legs which was broken in the accident had to be cancelled after pressure building up on her brain reached dangerous levels.

He said: "The doctors felt she was stable enough to be put through an operation to have the leg sorted out but they stopped it for safety reasons. They are now warming up her body and keeping an eye on the pressure in her head.

"But her eyes are both now reacting to light and that's fantastic. It's absolutely brilliant news and we're over the moon about it. While she wasn't reacting there was a high likelihood of brain stem injuries – that could still have happened and there still could be a risk of paralysis but this is good news."

Mr Parkes, who lives with his family in Marigold Drive, said his daughter had suffered bleeding in her brain, which doctors have told him will leave her brain damaged.

But he stressed: "We won't know to what extent the brain damage is until she wakes up."

The devoted father, whose son, eight-year-old Reece, suffers from a form of autism, said he was confident Deborah – a former Newmarket Upper School pupil – would win her battle to survive.

"She will fight it all the way – she won't let something like this get in the way of her life. She's a fighter and has always been so full of life that nothing will be able to stand in her way and stop her from getting back on with her life," he said.

"We're taking it in turns to sit with her and talking to her and laughing and I know it sounds strange but I think she's picking up on that. The screens (monitors) seemed to behave differently – it was almost as if she was here and that was her way of saying she was here."

Mr Parkes said the pressure on him and his wife was almost intolerable. "We're going through hell but we're putting a brave face on and trying not to break down in front of our other children."

Deborah's grandfather, Peter Parkes, 65, of Silverley Way, Ashley, said only days ago his granddaughter had changed her route to work from across the village heath to Turnpike Road because of the darker mornings.

The accident has stunned the close-knit community of Red Lodge – especially truckers at the café, where Deborah and her mother both work.

The accident, which also left Deborah with a fractured pelvis and smashed ankle, prompted renewed calls for safety improvements to Turnpike Road – the old A11 through the village.

It is believed the Renault van involved collided with a Ford Fiesta and then left the road and collided with the teenager, who has two sisters and a brother. Police are appealing for any witnesses to the 7.45am accident to contact Pc Jim Calver on 01284 774100.

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