Hit-and-run anguish in Spain

editorial image

A pensioner who was badly hurt in a hit-and-run horror in Spain was stranded there for four weeks in a wrangle with his travel insurance firm.

Retired social worker Bill Peacock (67) from Bishopbriggs, had left a restaurant with his wife Pat when he was mown down by a car on a pedestrian crossing.

He suffered a fractured hip, broken ribs and other injuries. Doctors also had to deal with internal bleeding.

They told him he would require further surgery in Scotland and needed an air ambulance to fly him home.

But the travel insurance arm of Nationwide Building Society dragged their heels over the payment of the flight.

It insisted it had not received the correct paperwork, despite doctors at El Puerto’s General Hospital in Cadiz informing them Mr Peacock was unfit to travel on a standard flight. A friend of the desperate couple contacted East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson for help.

John told the Herald: “Mr and Mrs Peacock were placed in a horrible situation through no fault of their own.

“Insurance companies are quick to take your money but not so quick to fork out for an air ambulance.

“The doctors in Spain said Mr Peacock could not travel by commercial plane. I just impressed upon the insurance company that they 
really should be going out of their way to help.”

After John’s intervention, Nationwide relented.

A Nationwide spokesperson said last Wednesday: “A decision on the best course of action in relation to a patient’s condition is made upon receipt of a final medical report from the treating hospital.

“While that report has not yet been received, Mr Peacock’s doctor has advised they hope he will be able to be repatriated today.

“On that basis we can confirm an air ambulance will be made available to bring him back to the UK. We sympathise with Mr Peacock and his family at this time.”

Bill and Pat (63), a retired PE teacher, had just enjoyed a meal with their son, Graham, a commercial pilot, who had travelled to meet them from his home in Thailand when the accident happened around 10pm.

Pat said: “It was a long straight road. We could see a car away in the distance, so we started to cross. We thought he would slow down, as is the norm in Spain but he didn’t.

“We jumped back but my husband was at the edge of the crossing and tried to spring forward. The car hit him and sent him into the air. His head was centimetres from hitting the kerb.”

The driver of the car which struck Bill was later named as Daniel Hengerer, a former US Navy crew chief who works as a civilian in the American base at the nearby town of Rota.

He is believed to have handed himself into police and is expected to appear in court in the near future.