Education / Safety First: Dicky needn't have died

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The Independent Online
EIGHT weeks after the death of her grandson, Debbie Jones still finds it hard to talk about him or the horrific accident in which he died, writes Fran Abrams. None the less, Mrs Jones is talking - to almost anyone who will listen. She is campaigning for changes in the law which, she hopes, will put an end to deaths such as that of six-year-old Dicky.

One foggy morning in March, the minibus that was taking Dicky, who had speech problems, to Alderman Knight Special School in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, was involved in a head-on collision with a pick-up truck. Though the front seats of the minibus had seat belts, those in the rear did not. Eight of Dicky's fellow pupils were injured, four seriously. Dicky was certified dead at the scene.

'I definitely think that seat belts would have made a difference in this case,' says Mrs Jones. 'There still has to be an inquest, but I do not think Dicky would have died if belts had been fitted in the bus.'

Mrs Jones's son, daughter- in-law and their three remaining children have had to move house because they could not bear to see a minibus continuing to pick up other children each day.

(Photographs omitted)