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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Stop for a Minute . . .

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You are woken up by your daughter telling you there’s a police car in the street and someone’s knocking at the door. What would be your first thought?

This is exactly what happened to Kelly Pulman just a few months ago. “I didn’t really think anything of it, maybe something had happened in the street, you never expect it to happen to you, you see it on the TV all the time”.

When Kelly opened the door the police officers asked her to confirm her name. “I knew then, I knew, it must be my brother” The police confirmed that there had been an accident and that her brother Ben had been killed. Kelly describes that moment as a complete blur “I think that’s what they said.” I know what you’re telling me, I hear what you are saying but it’s not registering. How can you be sure it’s my brother?”

Kelly and her daughter were the first people to receive this news, and Kelly now had the pain staking task of telling her mum what had happened. The problem was at this point, she didn’t know all the details. She had to make a call to tell her mum.” I had to pick up the phone in the middle of the night to tell her that there had been a car accident, and Ben had died at the scene. Kelly explained how she wanted to be the one to tell her mum, and she couldn’t let her have the police knocking on the door.

Kelly and her family were then told that 2 men had been arrested. What wasn’t known at the time was that it was on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and one of them arrested on suspicion of being unfit to drive through drink or drugs and drink driving. “We had no idea that drink and drugs were involved until the next day when a statement was released by Cambridgeshire Police.”

Kelly continued “It doesn’t make sense; my mum isn’t coping. I am having to shield things from her to help her cope. There is nothing right about what happened to my brother. You are not supposed to bury your little brother, your son, your friend.”

This hasn’t just affected Ben’s family, but his close circle of friends too. Liam Bolting, Ben’s closest friend since school told us about his friendship, and how it has been taken away from him,” He was the kindest, gentlest soul, and would always put others above himself”.

Liam was woken up early in the morning by a phone call from a number he didn’t recognise “It’s always those kinds of calls where you feel your heart sink” Liam heard the devastating news from Ben’s family and his world was turned upside down.

“The actions of people who get behind the wheel of the car, after drinking or taking drugs, don’t just ruin one life, they destroy every single one of those left behind”.

Liam’s message is a simple one “Don’t do it, don’t risk it, there is so much more to life than the cost of a taxi”.

“When they said the accident had happened, Ben wouldn’t normally be out at that time of night. He had been playing board games with a group of us. It was a regular thing for us to get together, he was out having a good time.”

“Those 2 people have made the decision to drink and take drugs and knowing the potential impact this could have got into a car with no forethought and no intention of causing harm but have taken someone’s life.”

Kelly’s message is a similar one “You might think you’re ok to get behind the wheel but you’re not. Think about how you would feel if it was one of your family members being killed by your actions. This is happening every single day, and we must get the message out there, save a friend, stop them getting behind the wheel”

A man who saw what happened, stayed with Ben, and waited for the emergency services to arrive. Kelly and her family have been in contact this man and to meet him recently. He reached out to the family through social media.

“He tried to help him… He smashed the window… He cut Ben’s seatbelt… he tried to get into the car to attempt to resuscitate him… He was there when we couldn’t be.” “He held his hand. The one thing we couldn’t do”.

Kelly spoke about how she and her family will keep in touch with this man and how they can now support each other.

He has met Ben’s wider friends and family, and he got to know so much more about Ben. “We care so much about him and could never thank him enough for what he did, at a time when we couldn’t be there. He was incredibly powerful and brave to put his own life on the line. You never get to hear about those kinds of people.”

Any amount of alcohol or drugs in your body can affect your ability to drive and hundreds of people are killed or injured each year as a result.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs risks your life and the lives of those around you. This includes legal medication prescribed by your GP or hospital as some medications affect your driving ability.

There is no excuse for driving whilst on drugs or under the influence of alcohol as it creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your response reactions.

The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be fatal but at the very least, getting caught can result in:

  • a minimum of a 12-month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • a fine of up to £5,000
  • up to six months in prison
  • an endorsement on your license for 11 years.

There are also other costs of getting caught whilst driving under the influence. If caught, your car insurance will increase and you may lose your job and have trouble entering other countries, such as the USA.

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol is simply not worth the risk.

Report a drink or drug driver

To report a drink or drug driver, please call 0800 032 0845 and you could help save a life.

The hotline is confidential hotline and open 24/7 to report people driving under the influence in Cambridgeshire. You will be asked to provide as much information as possible, including the name of the driver and make, colour and registration number of the vehicle.

If a crime is taking place or you feel someone is in immediate danger, please dial 999.

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