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Family failed by police after daughter dies in road traffic accident

By Rosie Dodds

Published In: Personal Injury

Switalskis represented a family who were failed by police after their 18-year-old daughter died in a road traffic accident in Doncaster.

On 15 December 2018, Shannon Lewis was hit by a car as she crossed a road in the centre of Doncaster. The crash left her fatally injured.

Shannon, who was much loved by her family, friends and colleagues, was crossing Wood Street at around 4.15pm on her way to start her shift at Yates. She was only a metre or two from reaching the pavement when she was hit by a Volkswagen Scirocco.

The driver was questioned at the scene of the accident. He informed the police that he was driving at approximately 30-35mph and that he didn't see Shannon at all before the collision. There was no effort to brake or to avoid Shannon, who was well established in the road. It was a busy afternoon in the weeks leading up to Christmas and there were several other pedestrians in the area who witnessed the accident.

The police investigated the collision but decided not to prosecute the driver. However, their full investigation had been based on Wood Street having a 30mph speed limit. In fact, Wood Street, a busy area of Doncaster where there several bars, restaurants, shops, and cafes are located, has a speed limit of 20mph.

Despite a full investigation, the police never realised that the speed limit they based all their findings on was incorrect. It was not until Shannon’s family pointed out the error, after investigations were concluded, that the police realised their fundamental mistake.

In response, the police prepared an addendum report which confirmed that the relevant speed limit was in fact 20mph and yet they still did not change their original decision not to prosecute the driver. This was even though the driver admitted at the scene of the accident that he was driving at about 30-35mph and failed to see Shannon at any point whilst she walked across the road.

Sadly, Shannon’s family were left feeling no sense of justice.

Commenting on her experience with the police, Shannon’s mother, Lisa Lewis said: "It's like Shannon didn't matter.  We all felt like we didn't matter to be honest. The police definitely let her down. The police are supposed to protect the innocent.”

For this reason, Lisa contacted Switalskis to bring a personal injury claim. Her main hope was to obtain some sense of justice and an admission of fault on the part of the driver.

Rosie Dodds , associate solicitor specialising in complex and fatal accident claims, brought court proceedings against the driver on behalf of Shannon’s family. The drivers insurers eventually admitted that the driver was at fault and a five-figure compensastion award was agreed.

Rosie said: “I'm so pleased to have been able to bring Shannon’s family a small element of peace after such a tragic event. It was right that they were able to bring civil proceedings and obtain some justice for Shannon.

“Unfortunately, this isn't the only case I've dealt with where families are left without justice due to the failings of police investigations or decisions made not to bring prosecutions.”

Lisa added: “There doesn't seem to be anyone people can turn to or talk to. I definitely found that out.

“[Switalskis] provided amazing advice every time and always kept us up to date. I felt at ease talking to Rosie about such a traumatic part of my life. The level of service I received cannot be improved, Rosie Dodds will come highly recommended from me to anyone that asks.”

 If you or a loved one have been injured in a road traffic accident, contact us so that our personal injury specialists can begin to support you too. Call 01302 320621 or email


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Rosie has over 13 years’ experience in the legal sector. She is an Associate Solicitor in the Personal Injury department.

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