Eight-year-old left afraid of white vans after hit and run

An eight-year-old boy with autism has been left afraid of white vans after his family were victims of a scary hit and run.

Wednesday, 31st May 2017, 5:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:49 pm
Darleen Gaffney with her children Kyle, ten and Callum, eight. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Callum Gaffney was with his mother, Darleen, and brother, Kyle, on the A27 on Saturday when their Honda Civic was involved in a collision with a van.

Teaching assistant Darleen, 32, said: “We had literally just come off the Bognor roundabout when a white van went straight into the side of me.

“The car took quite a whack and hit the central reservation.

“We were left in the middle of the fast lane, it was very scary.”

Callum screamed as the car span out and ten-year-old Kyle hit his head on the window.

Darleen, who lives in Caernarvon Road in Chichester, said: “The little one was next to the door that took the full impact.”

The collision left a sizeable dent in the side of the car, with the door stuck shut.

When the car came to a stop, Darleen looked around but could see that the van was no longer there.

“Nobody stopped. I managed to pull over into a layby and rang the police from there and made sure the kids were OK.”

According to Darleen, there had been an ambulance with flashing blue lights behind the van, which she thinks may partially explain what happened.

Luckily, both children did not sustain major injuries, with Kyle left with a headache.

However, Callum, who has autism, has been left distressed by the incident.

“Now he’s scared every time we go past a white van.”

Darleen is worried her son might be left with long-term anxiety from the collision.

She has slammed the other driver for not taking more care: “He should’ve checked before he pulled out.

“He couldn’t not know that he hit us, leaving us in the middle of the road with kids in the car.”

Darleen later went down to Chichester Police Station, and told officers what had happened to her.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “A red Honda Civic and a white Citroen van were involved in a collision on the A27/A259 roundabout at Chichester on Saturday.

“The van did not stop following the collision.”

Any witnesses should call 101 quoting serial 346 of 27/05.