Blue-light brigade victim ‘will need lifelong care’

2014-11-20 12:14

A man who was knocked over by a “blue-light brigade” driver will have to live with severe mental changes, the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court was told today.

The court was hearing from a psychiatrist who had treated Thomas Ferreira. She was testifying during the driver’s sentencing proceedings.

“I believe he will not be able to function independently or live on his own. He’ll need lifelong supervision and care,” psychiatrist Marthina Boegner told the court.

Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, the former driver of then Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, was convicted of reckless and negligent driving on December 3.

The term the “blue-light brigade” refers to the vehicles with flashing blue lights in which officials are driven around.

Boegner said that due to his severe head injury, Ferreira had changes in his personality, experienced severe mood swings and aggressive outbursts, had difficulty concentrating and lacked social decorum.

He was taking various medication and would probably be on medication for the rest of his life, she said.

“He will probably need to see a psychiatrist for the rest of his life to assist his family in stabilising his moods.

“People with head injuries are more inclined to have psychiatric issues,” she said.

Boegner said Ferreira’s injuries had had a huge effect on his family, who had to care for him permanently. It affected his relationship with his sister, who often bore the brunt of his aggressive outbursts.

“I don’t think that time will help. I think his function is now at its maximum. It’s been a few years since the injury.”

Semitjie sat in the dock during Boegner’s testimony wearing a navy tracksuit with a lime green trim.

He was driving Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira, who was on a motorbike, in November 2011.

Ferreira, who was 18 years old at the time, suffered head injuries and was comatose for weeks. He spent months in rehabilitation.

During the trial, the court heard that Semitjie was driving on the left side of the yellow line, had not switched on his siren, and went through a red traffic light.

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