Road crash victim recalls fateful drive, recounts injuries
A man seriously injured in a car crash told the Supreme Court he believes his friends left him for dead, focusing more on getting the damaged car moved than getting him help.
Taking the stand yesterday, Alexander Doyle said: “I'm almost 100 percent sure that's what happened and I'm upset, but what's done is done.”
The comments came during the trial of John Wardman, 29, who has denied charges of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Doyle by driving while over the legal blood-alcohol limit, driving while impaired, and failing to provide Mr Doyle with the necessities of life.
All of the charges relate to a crash which took place in the early hours of December 27, 2010 in which a car struck a wall on Harbour Road in Paget and, a short while later, a second wall on Manse Road.
Mr Doyle was in the back seat of the vehicle, while prosecutors allege that Mr Wardman was behind the wheel with his brother, Christopher Wardman in the front passenger seat.
Tow truck driver Keith Richardson previously told the court that he happened on the scene of the crash and was urged by two Caucasian men nearby to tow the damaged car to an estate near Fourways Inn.
He instead called for an ambulance after noticing a third man bleeding profusely in the back of the car.
Taking the stand yesterday, Mr Doyle said that on the evening of the accident he was on break from law school and had gone to Docksiders to catch up with friends.
He told the court that he arrived at the Front Street bar at around 9.30pm and first saw the defendant and his brother, Christopher Wardman, at around midnight.
By around 1.30am, he said the three had agreed to go back to the brothers' house in Paget to hang out.
He said that at that time he didn't feel drunk, but he believed he was likely over the legal blood-alcohol limit.
Asked who had got into the drivers seat, Mr Doyle said: “The person that was driving was wearing a dark blue sweater. It was fluffy and fuzzy.”
He subsequently told the court that he believed John Wardman had been wearing a blue sweater that evening.
Mr Doyle said he recalled the three driving along Front Street, but remembers little after they passed the gas station on East Broadway and could not recall the accident itself.
Describing his injuries, he told the court the impact severed an artery in his brain, causing internal bleeding.
He also suffered multiple fractures in his skull, facial bones and wrist.
He told the court he was flown to John Hopkins in Baltimore where he underwent multiple operations, including having metal plates inserted into his skull.
He also experienced short term memory loss, anxiety and post traumatic stress in the months following the collision.
Cross examined by defence lawyer Mark Daniels, Mr Doyle acknowledged that in March 2011, he told police that Christopher Wardman had been behind the wheel on the night of the crash while placing the defendant in the passenger seat.
However he told the court that at the time of his first interview, he was still struggling with memory issues caused by the crash.
“I had been called multiple times by the police with them wanting to talk to me about what happened,” Mr Doyle said. “I didn't feel confident. I knew I had to give information.
“After several times that they called, I said okay.”
He told the court that as time passed, he recalled more of the evening, including that he had reached forward while in the back of the car and felt the sweater worn by the driver with his right hand.
As a result, he went back to police in May 2011 to give a second statement.
Mr Doyle also acknowledged that between making the two statements he spoke with Christopher Wardman, who had denied being behind the wheel on the night of the crash.
Mr Daniels also noted that Mr Doyle had thanked Mr Richardson during his examination in chief, asking the victim if he did so because he believed that his lifelong friends had “left him for dead”.
Mr Doyle responded: “I'm aware that the first priority was for John to move the car and get out of there and not call for help.”
Asked if he was aware the defendant didn't have a cell phone and Mr Richardson appeared in the area by coincidence rather than responding to a call, Mr Doyle said: “I don't totally believe in coincidences after what happened to me. I feel it was fate and I'm very, very thankful that Mr Richardson was there and did the right thing.”