A traumatic experience

A horrific incident:

Pascoe Petgrave, 21, was behind the wheel of a grey BMW which struck 30-year-old Chanelle Higgins and her friend Nikisha Cox as they walked home from a night out in south London.

CCTV caught the moment Petgrave’s car, driving along the pavement in Norwood High Street, in West Norwood, sent the two women crashing to the ground.

Ms Higgins was paralysed from the waist down and is now in a wheelchair. Ms Cox was hurt in the crash but escaped serious injury.

Petgrave did not stop after the 4.30am crash, handing himself in to police more than two weeks later.

A quick search of the driver leads to this story (warning: Daily Mail) when he was 12:

More than 50 police officers swarmed on a 12-year-old boy accused of stealing a £10 note which was hanging out of a cashpoint. The army of officers was called after a row broke out when a woman, 27, accused Pascoe Petgrave of stealing the tenner from an HSBC bank machine in Thornton Heath, south London. Pascoe, who stands at just 1.40m, said he had been given his mum’s bank card to withdraw money when he spotted the note – but the woman who had been nearby claimed it belonged to her. Pascoe’s cousins – two women aged 21 and 28 – stepped in to stand up for him and a large crowd gathered before the trio were arrested on suspicion of theft.

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The boy’s mother Maxine who was called to the scene by the cousins, then watched in astonishment as her son was handcuffed and taken into police custody. All three cousins have since been bailed while enquiries continue. Mrs Petgrave said yesterday: ‘He’s never been in any trouble before. This was a horrific ordeal for my 12-year-old boy, he was handcuffed and put into a headlock. When my house was burgled a year ago I wish they had sent just one of those officers. How did a row over a £10 note hanging out of an ATM machine get to that point?’

Nine years later and Petgrave was deep in gang wars:

Croydon Police gang’s task force recommended Petgrave be moved out of Croydon for the safety of him and his family. Petgrave had been twice chased by men armed with knives in the weeks before the crash, and was deemed “at risk of gang violence”.

pascoe1a“Pascoe poses a huge risk both to himself and his immediate family of serious harm from other gang rivals. His lifestyle is having a detrimental effect on his family life.”

One wonders how much influence that incident in front of the ATM machine had in shaping Pascoe’s life. Was being the victim of institutionalised violence a tipping point to a life of crime?

The result is that a woman is paralysed for life because of the recklessness of Petgrave.

Vision Zero means going beyond blaming drivers for specific incidents. It is understanding that gangs members are often at the wheels of powerful vehicles, with scant concern of the safety of others. They don’t just kill each other, they terrorise ordinary citizens and occasionally kill and maim them.

A car in their hands is no different than a knife. Indeed a number of gang disputes have ended in murders-by car. So why not treat motor vehicles the same way we treat knives? For example, imagine if any criminal conviction would lead to an automatic five year driving ban, and driving without licence would lead to an automatic ten year jail sentence.

Of course the stick is not sufficient; one must start by treating everyone with respect starting from 12 year old black children.

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