Family of PC Diederik Coetzee describe hit-and-run 'devastation'
- 21 September 2012
- From the section Nottingham
The daughter of a Nottinghamshire police officer critically injured in a hit-and-run last year says he still needs round-the-clock care.
PC Diederik Coetzee was cycling to the gym while off-duty last November when he was hit by a car which failed to stop.
Before the incident, PC Coetzee had made national headlines for his extraordinary arrest rate in Mansfield.
His daughter Rachel said the crash had left the family "devastated".
PC Coetzee, who was dubbed "robocop" and "supercop" by newspapers in 2005 after making 309 arrests on Mansfield's Ladybrook Estate in a year, was hit while cycling through Blidworth on the evening of 25 November 2011.
'Lost our father'
The crash left the 55-year-old with severe head injuries and 10 months later he still relies on 24-hour care as he continues his lengthy recovery at home and in hospital.
Mitchel Graham, 26, of Grange Road, Blidworth, will be sentenced next month at Nottingham Crown Court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop after the accident and failing to report it.
Ms Coetzee said the family was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened
She said: "We've completely lost the father we grew up with. The man we knew, who was outgoing and independent, now has to rely on someone being there 24 hours a day.
"But from the day I saw him in hospital to now, it has been a dramatic change.
"Six months ago he was dependent on the nurses and carers to do everything for him - day to day living stuff.
"Now his current status is he's able to walk from A to B. He's not needing someone to do everything for him - he's learning how to do stuff for himself.
"All we can think about is having him home full-time but obviously there isn't a time frame for this.
'Helmet saved him'
"It's just dependent on the progress he makes so we're currently taking it one day at a time."
Ms Coetzee said the family wanted to use the crash to spread a road safety message
She said: "The one thing we want to take away from this is to promote safety amongst all road users.
"The doctor said if he hadn't been wearing a helmet he wouldn't have survived."
She also said the family was grateful for messages of support from the community.
She said: "It helps a lot because it reminds him he's still on people's minds. They're still wishing him well and they still want him back."