RIP479: Teenage crash survivor backs our road safety campaign
A TEENAGER whose boyfriend was killed in a car crash has spoken about how it changed the course of her life forever.
Sophie Cook, 19, was a front seat passenger in the crash which claimed the life of Rob Brush, 22.
The warehouseman, from Andoversford and originally from Cheltenham, was one of the 479 people killed on the roads of Gloucestershire since the millennium until the end of 2012. – a quarter of whom were aged between 17 and 24
The Echo is today launching a campaign to raise awareness of the number of people dying on the roads of Gloucestershire.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
It coincides with a road safety summit today organised by police and crime commissioner Martin Surl.
IT was a night like any other when a teenage couple took a drive in the countryside.
But a seemingly average date for 16-year-old Sophie Cook and her boyfriend of five months, Robert Brush, took a tragic turn when the high performance car he had owned for just four days left the road.
The Subaru Impreza ploughed into trees and a wall along Buckholt Road in Cranham, leaving the popular 22-year-old dead and Sophie alone in the dark on a country road.
Robert, a warehouseman from Andoversford and originally from Cheltenham, was one of the 479 people killed on the roads of Gloucestershire between the millennium and the end of 2012.
An inquest concluded that Robert was driving within the speed limit, but may have been unfamiliar with the conditions on the twisting section of road, in an unfamiliar car.
That number has since increased to 482 in the wake of a number of recent deaths, with three last weekend.
But Sophie does not want Robert's death in February 2011, to be in vain.
The young carer, now 19, is backing our call for more to be done to keep our young drivers safe on the roads.
Of the 479 people killed on our roads, a quarter of them were, like Robert, aged between 17 and 24.
That's 121 people needlessly killed.
It takes around 400 people to fill a 747 jumbo jet.
Sophie, from Stonehouse who now lives in Stroud, said: "He shouldn't die in vain.
"If I can save one person's life from my experience, then it will be worth it.
Sophie has since taken part in a number of road safety exercises, including a return to her old school – Maidenhill in Stonehouse – to talk to pupils.
She said: "It was difficult to go back because I hadn't long left.
"A lot of the students knew me. I think it made them listen a bit more.
Sophie remembers little of the circumstances surrounding the crash.
She said: "We were on the way to his house.
"I remember seeing his arms on the steering wheel, then I don't remember anything until I woke up after the crash. It was pretty dark.
"I was fiddling with the lights and I remember talking to him, but there was no response.
"I noticed the car was smoking so I got out and rang my mum.
"I managed to flag a car down and then there were police and ambulance everywhere.
"I don't think I ever really got over it, I've learned to deal with it. I decided to try to make things better for other people."
Sophie now wants to warn other young drivers to focus on what's important, when driving.
She said it was more important to slow down on unfamiliar roads in order to be able to anticipate hazards.
"Be more careful," she urged. "You never know what's going to happen on the roads and if you drive more slowly then you have more time to react.
"Life is precious. I wouldn't want anyone to have to experience what I went through.
"Don't wish your life away with being dangerous or speeding."