A FATHER of four who suffered life-changing injuries when his friend sped past police and crashed a car through a central reservation and into an articulated lorry, has met emergency crews to thank them for saving his life.
Kelvin Walker, 33, from Addiscombe, was trapped in the wreckage of Ferdinand Page's Ford Focus after Page fled the scene of the crash on Streatham High Road the early hours of December 28, 2012.
The friends were returning to Croydon after Kelvin's birthday celebration.
Police, paramedics and fire crews worked to keep Kelvin alive after he suffered a broken neck, elbow and leg in the crash.
He spent nearly a year in various hospitals and after originally being told by doctors he had a 99 per cent chance of being completely paralysed from the neck down, he noticed sensation returning and can now move his hands and stand with assistance.
On Tuesday, more than 18 months since he last saw them, Kelvin and his mum Michele Morrison-Walker, were reunited with the people who saved his life.
"It's extremely emotional after such a traumatic event where Kelvin would have died without help, he was moments from death," said Michele, also from Addiscombe.
"The fact that he spent a whole year of his life away from his young family in hospital is emotional for him and he's always said 'I have to meet the people that saved me'.
"It's absolutely wonderful that everyone can be here for Kelvin to thank them personally, and for me to thank them for saving my boy."
Kelvin said: "When something like this happens and you can meet the people who have made a difference, it matters.
"At the same time, it's exciting to show how I'm still smiling thanks to these guys who do a tough job, if it makes them go home and say 'I've done a good job' then it's really worthwhile, because people do bad-mouth the police."
It took more than 18 months to bring Page, 31, of Vanguard Close, to justice because he fled to Jamaica while on police bail, but was arrested earlier this year when he tried to re-enter the UK at Manchester Airport.
He was jailed for three years at Southwark Crown Court on September 2 after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, an offence which came into force just weeks before the crash.
Michele said she was pleased with the verdict and glad the new law could be used.
"It doesn't bring back Kelvin's use of his legs or his body but it gives you a bit of closure and satisfaction that justice has been done."
Kelvin added: "Once I got down in that physio room, that was it, I wanted to be able to walk again.
"It's coming along slowly but surely, making progress, I'm doing a bit of standing and walking with assistance, and I do sessions on the cycling machine."
Michele added her son was "absolutely determined".
"He has a positive outlook now. He has had his dark moments and there's been times where he's said 'Mum, what's the point in carrying on? I can't hold my children, I'm not the big strong dad that I was'. But since he's been doing physio, it's starting to come back and he can hold the kids and more. He's doing really well.
"He's determined that he wants to walk again. His name is Walker, he has to walk again."