Merseyside Police is releasing CCTV footage of a serious collision earlier this year in St Helens, to remind people of the dangers of the illegal use of off-road motorbikes ahead of Christmas.
At around 3.30pm on Friday, 13 January, Jessica Chisnall, aged 15 at the time, was walking home from school on Ashtons Green Drive, St Helens when an off-road bike mounted the pavement and collided with her.
Carl Chisnall, the father of Jess, said: “It was a typical Friday afternoon waiting for the girls to come home from school and college, then a bang on the door changed our lives dramatically. My niece was at the door saying something has happened to our daughter. Our first thought was someone had hit her and nothing prepared us for what was to happen next. I ran to her and saw her lifeless on the floor and no movement. I was in shock and my first thought was she was dead. I just kept saying her name over and over not knowing if she could hear me or the seriousness of the injuries she had sustained. There was people around me offering help phoning the emergency services my focus and priority was on my daughter as my wife and other daughter were screaming and upset."
Jessica was taken to hospital with serious injuries and put in a medically-induced coma. Jessica suffered with bleeding on the brain, eye socket injuries and deep cuts, and was treated at Alder Hey Neurology department before continuing her recovery at home.
The rider and passenger, who were 12 and 16 respectively at the time of the incident, made off from the incident and were later arrested. The 16-year-old was later given a Detention and Training Order and disqualified from driving for five years. The 12-year-old was given a Youth Referral Order.
The off-road bike had been given to the 16-year-old passenger of the bike as a reward for good achievement in school.
Merseyside Police Roads Policing Constable Shaun Regan has supported the family since the incident: "We know that this CCTV footage will be distressing for some people to watch and it has taken immense courage by Jessica and her family to agree to its release.
"But it is so important that we show people the devastating and long-lasting impact that the dangerous and illegal use of off-road bikes can cause. This incident could have happened on any street in Merseyside, and should remind people that riding any vehicle on any pavement at any time is fraught with danger.
"Almost 12 months on from the incident, Jessica and her family are still recovering from what happened and we don't want any other families to go through their continuing ordeal."
Sara Chisnall, the mother of Jessica, said: “Our daughter has been set back by all that has happened and our lives have changed dramatically, but we have fought hard to support her as a family. We are thankful for all the support from neighbours, the police and the school. We can’t thank the emergency services enough for their hard work. It’s been a tough year and we are all looking forward and try not to look back.
"Christmas is a special time for us like all families but this year we count ourselves lucky to have our whole family together, things could have been so different. Like we say, we are looking forward.
“Hopefully this will deter parents from buying these bikes.”
Carl Chisnall continues: “I plead with any responsible parent not to buy these bikes. They are not children’s toys, they are not road legal and can only be ridden on private land with the land owner’s permission. You’re wasting your money but most of all you are putting your children and others at risk.
“I plead with anyone considering riding these bikes to think again. Think of the numerous people harassed and put at risk by riding these bikes. If you want to use one find a safe and legal place where you won’t put other’s and yourselves at risk.”
Chief Inspector Gary O'Rourke, who heads Merseyside Police's Operation Brookdale campaign to reduce the illegal and nuisance use of off-road bikes, said: "We are completely committed to eradicating the harm that the illegal and anti-social use of off-road bikes continues to cause to the communities in Merseyside, and I want to ask anyone who is considering buying an off-road vehicle for their child this Christmas to think very carefully about the consequences, which are all too vividly apparent to anyone viewing this footage.
"As upsetting as it is, this CCTV speaks for itself, and shows the true danger that can be caused by the illegal and dangerous use of off-road vehicles. The injuries suffered by Jess on that day were completely avoidable and Jessica and her family continue to suffer because of the reckless behaviour of two individuals who didn’t think of the consequences that riding a powerful motorbike in a built-up area might cause.
"We are continuing to do everything we can to stop incidents like this from blighting our communities, so if you have information on where they are being stored, where they are regularly being ridden, and what vehicles are transporting them – let us know, report online, call Crimestoppers, even send a message to us on social media. We will take action whenever we can to remove dangerous vehicles from the streets."
Anyone with information on who is using these bikes and where they are being stored is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
**Please note, some viewers may find the footage below distressing