Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

  • Willow Griffiths, 17, was hit by a truck outside school in Melbourne in February 
  • She suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and will require 24-hour care
  • The now 18-year-old is suing driver Chas Nicholson for compensation 
  • Nicholson was found with remnants of meth and amphetamines in his system
  • Willow explained how she should've been in year 12, missed out on her 18th 

By Sahar Mourad For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 12:09, 3 January 2021 | Updated: 12:30, 3 January 2021

Willow Griffiths (pictured) was struck by a suspended truck driver who had drugs in his system and ran two red lights

A schoolgirl who needs 24-hour care after flying almost 13m when she was struck by a drugged up truck driver is suing for compensation.

Willow Griffiths had just finished school about 3.15pm on February 6, 2020 and was waiting for the go-ahead to safely cross the road outside Nazareth College in Noble Park, in Melbourne's southeastern suburbs. 

When she got the signal from the crossing guard, the then 17-year-old and a few of her friends took a few steps before she was flung a horrifying 13m into the air after a truck hit her. 

The drugged up driver who also had a suspended license at the time, Chas Nicholson, had sped through two red lights when he hit Willow. 

The crossing guard had managed to pull the others on the road out of the way but Willow was not so lucky.  

The now 18-year-old has been in hospital since the terrifying incident 10 months ago and suffered a broken back and permanent brain damage. 

She will require 24 hours of care when she is released from hospital and her family has launched a civil lawsuit and suing him for compensation, the Herald Sun reported.   

'(Willow) has suffered injury, loss and damage as a result of the incident (which) was caused by the negligence of the defendant,' a writ submitted in the Supreme Court read. 

Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

Truck driver Chas Nicholson (pictured) was driving on a suspended license when he struck schoolgirl Willow Griffiths 

Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

Police arrive at the scene of the horrific incident on February 6, 2020 where Willow was hit by a drugged truck driver

Despite all her injuries and suffering, Willow recorded a victim impact statement which to be shown in Victoria's County Court. 

'My name is Willow Griffiths,' she said slowly with a pause in between each word. 

'I'm 18 years old. The accident happened in February and I've been in hospital since.'  

She spoke of missing out on her final year of schooling, her 18th birthday, saying goodbye to her grandfather who passed away while she was still in hospital. 

Her heartbroken mother Sylvia Griffiths, choked back tears when she explained how the horrifying incident had 'broken my family'.

She explained that even though her daughter is still alive it was also that 'so much was taken away from her'. 

'Every time I look at her I see her not being able to do a simple task ... knowing that I can't do anything to fix it or make it better,' Mrs Griffiths said.

She described the waiting process as 'excruciating' when she waited to see if her daughter would survive the life-changing ordeal. 

Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

Emergency services seen outside the school where Willow was hit by a truck driver on February 6

Willow's sister Angela Griffiths told the court that she had driven past the scene a few minutes after.

It haunts her that if she had driven past the school earlier then she could have given Willow a ride home instead of her making her own way. 

'When I drove past her I saw the blonde hair -- not knowing it was my sister,' she said. 

Angela said she and Willow had always been by each other's side from since they started dancing 13 years ago and worked together. 

'All I care about is Willow: if she is comfortable, if she is sad, lonely or angry. My emotions are irrelevant,' she said. 

She said she misses Willow before the traumatic incident and gets 'mad every day' remembering what happened to her beloved sister.

Schoolgirl, 18, sues drugged-up truck driver who mowed her down as she crossed the road after class, leaving her in hospital for 10 months with a broken back and brain damage

Pictured: The crash scene in Noble Park, in Melbourne's southeastern suburbs

Willow's situation has also greatly affected crossing guard Mr D'Arcy, 74, who had been helping students cross for six years.

He said he has frequent flashbacks at the scene unfolding before his eyes which 'happened on my watch'. 

'I will have to live with this for the rest of my life,' he said. 

Nicholson was ordered to serve at least 18 months of a two-year-and-nine-month prison sentence before being eligible for parole.  

At the time of his sentencing, remnants of methamphetamine and amphetamines were found in his system from smoking ice two days before the crash. 

Judge Dean said Nicholson, who himself has a teen daughter, had a longstanding history of substance abuse.

But he had been abstinent since his offending.

Nicholson, who was born in the UK and never became an Australian citizen, could be deported when he is released.  

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