‘We’ve been in some very dark places’, to live so close to the man who killed your son and watch him go about his life everyday, how is that right?’
Retired firefighter Mark Saltern lost his only son to a hit and run driver who walked out of court with a suspended sentence. The drunk driver hit Ryan and dragged him 20 metres along the road breaking every bone in his body bar one and leaving him in the road without dialling for the emergency services. Not only did the driver leave Ryan in the middle of the road but he also went to work the following day hearing all about the accident knowing he was the culprit. It was only 36 hours later that the driver went to visit his father and revealed what he had done and his father called the police.
“He was a drunk driver and had previous for drug use. There is no way he wouldn’t have known that he had hit Ryan. The impact caused Ryan’s head to smash against his radiator damaging it. As a retired firefighter I have seen my fair share of drunk drivers but I cannot imagine what he did to my son. He got behind the wheel of a loaded gun,” said Mark.
In court, it was revealed that driver who ironically is a lifeguard, showed no signs of stopping or even slowing down when he hit Ryan.
“He didn’t slow down and he even admitted in court that he had heard about Ryan on the radio at his work place and yet carried on working. He lives literally 300 yards away from us, how is right that he can live in the same village and go about his everyday life knowing he killed my son. It’s not right for our mental health.”
Ryan was a 31 year old postman who was married with a son and much loved by everyone in his community. At his funeral over 500 people came to pay their respects to their friend and local postman. Ryan had been out to a carnival and was on his way to his parents house when he was struck by the speeding car and left to die.
“He has shown no guilt whatsoever. He went to work the day after, concealing his car as it had damage from the accident and not saying a word about it. It was only when he went to see his father that he actually admitted what he had done and thankfully his father called the police.”
The case went to court in August of last year with Ryan’s family knowing that the maximum sentence that could be given for hit and run was a 6 months sentence. But in this case, the driver walked out of court with a four month suspended sentence and a fine to pay for killing a man.
“I watch him everyday go to work, celebrate his birthday drunk and carry on with his life showing no remorse at all. I couldn’t live with myself if I had done that.”
Now Mark and his family are campaigning for Ryan’s law, a law that widens the definition of dangerous driving.
“Causing death by dangerous driving needs wider definition to reduce the possibility of lighter sentencing. Wider definition that includes a ‘failure’ to stop and a failure to call 999 from the scene. With a wider definition and a set minimum sentence, it would ensure hit and run drivers that kill are always sentenced with causing death by dangerous driving for cases where they have taken no action to help their victim.”
“We’ve been in some very dark places, it takes every ounce of my strength to not retaliate. When your loved one is killed in a hit and run, the last words you expect to hear in court are ‘driver you are free to go.’
Please help Mark and his family achieve the justice they deserve for Ryan by signing the #Ryan’slaw petition below.