Grieving family campaigns for Ryan’s Law recognition

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Ryan Saltern died in 2019 when he was run over by a car in St Teath

7th April 2021

By Matt Dixon

The family of a Truro postman who was killed in a hit and run incident is lobbying the government with a new petition to change the law.

Ryan Saltern, from Probus, died after being run over by a car in St Teath whilst walking home from a carnival with a friend on July 28, 2019.

The driver, Wayne Shilling, was later convicted of failing to stop and failing to report an accident.
Ryan’s inquest was held last week and his family issued a statement: “Shilling’s car caused the fatal blow and he admitted to drinking four cans under oath (with the weakest of lager, that would be twice the legal limit).

“He may not have been able to avoid him with the poor lighting and visibility but he didn’t stop at all and he would have known as he was closer to him that there was a person in the road.

“He dragged our son, Ryan, 18 metres across the road before his body came out from under the car. The fact Ryan’s friend can’t remember anything is extremely stressful for the family.”

Shilling, who lives in Delabole, continued down the road and was uncontactable for 36 hours, before his father called the police and Shilling was arrested.

Last August the 39-year-old received a suspended jail sentence for failing to stop and failing to report an accident. He was banned for 12 months and given a four-month curfew.

The family statement added: “I know when you’re drinking your reactions are different but I know Ryan liked a drink and was having fun that night at the marquee and when he left.

“He could walk and was mucking around with his friends. How he came to be in the road is the missing link and we don’t know if he tripped, fell or anything else.

“What we do know is that Ryan’s blood confirmed he was three times the driving limit with no other substances at all.

“Just an equivalent of two cans more than Shilling. Ryan was out having fun and walking and not behind the wheel of a car.”

Over the past 12 months, Ryan’s family and friends have supported numerous petitions seeking justice for families who have lost loved ones to hit and run drivers.

Two petitions have gained more than 100,000 signatures and are awaiting dates for them to be discussed in parliament.

The newest petition is called Ryan’s Law: Widen definition of ‘death by dangerous driving’, which argues that the charge should also include failing to stop, calling 999 and rendering aid on scene until further help arrives. Currently there are just over 60,000 signatures in support.

That petition was started after the government’s response to a previous one, which asked for more punitive powers for failing to stop offences.

The Department of Transport said: “Ministers are aware of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Ryan Saltern and extend their sympathy to family and friends.

“Failure to stop and report offences are often referred to as “hit and run”, but this is not an accurate reflection of the offence. The offence is designed to deal with behaviour relating to failing to stop, not as an alternative route to punish an offender for a more serious, but unproven offence.

“The Government takes this issue seriously. The Department of Transport is looking into the issue of such incidents of failure to stop resulting in death or serious injury, and exploring whether there are further options that can be pursued.”

Anyone wishing to sign the latest petition, which was started by Ryan’s sister Leanne, can log on to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/575620

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