Bert Vieira with children Trent and Cassandra Vieira outside St. George Hospital where Gai Vieira is in a coma. Picture: Brendan Esposito.
Bert Vieira with children Trent and Cassandra Vieira outside St. George Hospital where Gai Vieira is in a coma. Picture: Brendan Esposito.

Family ‘destroyed’ by crash with cop car

A POLICE officer has been charged over a crash that critically injured Sydney grandmother and horse trainer's wife Gai Vieira in early September.

Police confirmed a 40-year-old senior constable has been charged with dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

This follows a public campaign by Ms Vieira's husband, horse trainer Bert Vieira who has vowed to sue the NSW Police force over the crash.

Mrs Vieira, 68, was driving her Mercedes Benz in the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla on September 5 when a highway patrol car smashed into her at speeds of up to 124km/h.

Gai and Bert Vieira's three-year-old grandson Tyler was in the back seat of the car, but was unhurt.

Mrs Vieira, however, remains in a coma with broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken pelvis, elbow and ankle and bleeding on her brain.

NSW Police have since revealed that the patrol car that struck Mrs Vieira had not turned on its lights or siren and was chasing a driver for an alleged mobile phone infringement.

The police car T-boned Mrs Vieira's vehicle, destroying the Mercedes and sustaining serious damage.

Mrs Vieira's husband, Bert Vieira, said news that the officer had been charged came with "no satisfaction".

"He is one person... I don't blame him for this," Mr Vieira told the ABC.

"Who's the one who asked him to do it? That's the person I want.

"If the poor guy gets hung out to dry because he's the one that was driving…I want to stop the system."

"They've destroyed our family's lives," he said.

Asked if he wanted the officer to lose his job, Mr Vieira replied: "I do, hell yeah."

 

Gai Vieira with her three-year-old grandson Tyler who was not hurt in the crash which left her in a coma with a brain injury.
Gai Vieira with her three-year-old grandson Tyler who was not hurt in the crash which left her in a coma with a brain injury.

Ten days ago outside St George Hospital in Kogarah, south of Sydney, where his wife is being treated, Mr Vieira slammed the NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy.

The angry racing identity also criticised Mr Corboy's statement after the crash about police pursuits, which included the officer saying police had a policy "to make it safe for members of the community and for police performing their duty".

Mr Vieira said he had "never seen a worse statement in my life".

"It's an insult to my family and to everyone that has been hurt by a police car chase," he said. "A statement like that should never be put out."

He said that he would sue NSW Police as part of his campaign to stop high-speed chases.

"The only way to teach them a lesson is to make them hurt," Mr Vieira said.

The Vieira family has kept a vigil at Gai Vieira's hospital bed since the crash.

"I still wake up in the morning and think I'm going to cuddle her, but she's not there," Mr Vieira said.

The charged police officer will face the Downing Centre Court in November.

Bert Vieira (left) and wife Gai at Royal Randwick when their horse Trapeze Artist won in April. Picture: David Moir.
Bert Vieira (left) and wife Gai at Royal Randwick when their horse Trapeze Artist won in April. Picture: David Moir.