‘It scared the life out of us’ – Stevenage parents reflect on son’s BMX crash and praise friend for raising alarm

Jack Howard, right, visits Chris Chipperfield to return his BMX bike after he was released from hosp

Jack Howard, right, visits Chris Chipperfield to return his BMX bike after he was released from hospital. - Credit: Archant

The parents of a schoolboy whose BMX bike careered into an oncoming car after an ‘ET moment’ are thanking their lucky stars after their 12-year-old son was released from hospital almost unscathed.

But parents Chris and Lorraine Chipperfield have spelled out a strong warning to other young cyclists after discovering their son Chris had taken the brakes off his bike because they didn’t look ‘cool’.

They have also praised paramedics and thanked their son’s pal Jack Howard, who rushed to raise the alarm after seeing his friend knocked to the ground.

Marriotts School pupil Chris was riding with Jack on a cyclepath on Mobbsbury Way in Stevenage just after 6.15pm on Friday.

The pair rode down a slope then up over a grass verge. Jack, who goes to Nobel School, put his brakes on as they approached Fairlands Way but Chris couldn’t stop and his bike hit the side of an oncoming Toyota.


You may also want to watch:


He was knocked unconscious and was rushed to the Lister Hospital with head, knee and ankle injuries and having lost some of his teeth.

Dad Chris said: “Jack came rushing through the back gate in a mad panic and said Chris had been hit by a car.

Most Read

“Me and my wife just ran down there barefoot and saw him lying in the road with his head bleeding

“He went down the hill and then up the other side and had an ET moment in mid air, just like in the film.

“Nobody can believe that he is standing up walking. Chris took all of the impact, the bike hasn’t got a scratch on it.

“Jack did exactly the right thing. He has been a brave boy as well.”

“We had no idea Chris had taken his brakes off. Apparently it’s not cool to have brakes, he was putting his foot in the wheel to slow down.”

Paramedics say keen swimmer Chris can thank his muscular physique for his swift recovery.

An air ambulance was called to the scene but wasn’t needed, though police shut Mobbsbury Way until 9.30pm. The couple in the Toyota were shaken but unhurt.

Jack’s father Barry Howard, of nearby Mildmay Road, said: “All Jack can remember is the noise of Chris hitting the car, which he keeps hearing in his head.

“But he got on his bike and went to raise the alarm. He did us proud.

“It scared the life out of us. Parents have got to be careful and vigilant. The kids must have brakes on their bikes and they must be properly equipped.”

Michelle Birchenall, who works in the kitchens at Nobel, was first on the scene after the crash and her husband called the ambulance.

She said: “I got out to make sure he was breathing and I put my coat over him and held his hand until the ambulance came.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter