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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Bereaved sister's road death plea
Rhodri Rhys Roberts
Rhodri died of head injuries despite wearing a seat belt
The bereaved sister of a 17-year-old killed in a car crash has taken her driver safety message to sixth formers.

Ceri Robertson's brother Rhodri Roberts was a passenger in a Renault Clio car which hit a road sign in Llandudno.

Mrs Robertson described the night of her brother's death last year and the impact on his family to 17 and 18-year-olds at Eirias High School, Colwyn Bay.

She said speaking out was worth it if it prevented another tragedy.

The education project by road safety charity Brake was organised to combat worries over young driver deaths and injuries on north Wales roads.

It comes after the high-profile trial following the deaths of four schoolfriends in a car crash near Ebbw Vale, south Wales.

Ceri Robertston
You have to live with it every day
Ceri Robertson, sister

Craig Ramshaw, now 18, from Ebbw Vale, was convicted of careless driving earlier this month.

The father of one of the dead girls, who were rear seat passengers in the car, called for young motorists to be forced to log 200 hours of driving before they were qualified to drive unaccompanied.

Mrs Robertson told pupils of the night the news was broken to her that Rhodri (known to the family as Rhods) was killed in January 2006.

"My dad was crying so much I couldn't understand what he was saying, and all my mum said was 'the police car's here, we're going to the hospital your brother is dead.'"

Mrs Robertson described events as they unfolded, travelling to the hospital and then waiting to see her brother's body.

I don't speed, but it has made me think about the way I drive
Sixth former David Gilbert, 17

"There were forms to fill, but I don't remember what they were, and then we went through to the chapel of rest to see him.

He suffered head injuries, although he had been wearing a seat belt.

"When I'd seen him before he was full of beans, and now he was lying there cold and white."

Mrs Robertson said the last time she saw her brother he had given her a hug but at the hospital she squeezed his hand "praying, waiting for him to wake up and say 'joke'".

The image of his body was something she carried around with her every day, she said.

Arranging the funeral had been difficult and the long-term effect on the family had been devastating.

Her mother had to give up her work because she could not cope, and her father had become very nervous.

Eirian High School, Colwyn Bay
Sixth form pupils were given an hour-long presentation

Mrs Robertson said she was also trying to come to terms with what had happened as well as trying to look after her two young children.

The family had gained comfort from the fact that 800 people had attended her brother's funeral, but the pain remained.

"We are carrying on with life, of course we are, but I wouldn't say I'm happy. You have to live with it every day," she added.

Danger points

Mrs Robertson said she was uncertain if her words had done enough, but if one death could be prevented by her speaking out it would be worth it.

Sixth former Sarah Wilkinson, 17, said it had opened her eyes to what could happen: "It makes you think," she said.

"I found it very upsetting to hear what she had to say, and I've just started driving too," said Amber Roebuck, 17.

David Gilbert, also 17, added: "I don't speed, but it has made me think about the way I drive."

The hour-long presentation also included advice from Conwy council's safer roads officer Martyn Schlangen about the danger points for young drivers.

In the case of Rhodri Roberts' crash, the 17-year-old driver was later banned from driving for five months for driving without due care and attention.

Mr Schlangen, a former police officer, said the speed in this case was 48mph in a 40mph road.

"It was inappropriate speed for that stretch of road and he was an inexperienced driver."



SEE ALSO
Car passenger, 17, dies in crash
30 Jan 06 |  South East Wales
Young 'more likely' to crash cars
31 Aug 06 |  South East Wales
Teen crash driver's safety advice
15 Aug 06 |  South East Wales
Mourners gather for crash funeral
14 Nov 06 |  South East Wales

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