To have a police officer knock at your front door in the middle of the night with terrible news is every parents’ worst nightmare. PC Laura Smith had the unenviable task of telling the parents of Stevie Payne that their son was fighting for his life in a hospital half way across the world.
Now, the Hampshire family have expressed their thanks to the police officer who helped them in their time of need when Stevie was seriously injured in a collision more than 4,500 miles away from home.
On 29 April 2017 PC Smith was deployed to an address in West Wellow to deliver some terrible news to the mother and father of Stevie Payne.
Stevie, who was 31 at the time, had been on a once in a life time trip, cycling across America in aid of an Alzheimer’s charity. Having started his journey in Jacksonville, Florida he was on the last leg of his journey when he was struck by a truck in San Carlos, Arizona.
He was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries and was not expected to make it through the night.
After delivering the difficult news, PC Smith stayed with the couple to help them book their flights to Arizona and overcome any issues to help them get to Stevie as quickly as possible.
Stevie defied all odds and after two weeks in hospital in Arizona he was transferred to Southampton General Hospital where he spent a further two and a half months receiving treatment for his injuries.
PC Laura Smith, said: “Stevie’s recovery has been incredible. When the call came in, he was not expected to last the night, and now he is back home and relatively unscathed considering the ordeal he has been through.
“Unfortunately as police officers we witness a lot of sadness and we do what we can to help people through these difficult times. However, in this case, he has defied all odds and made an incredible recovery. It hasn’t been an easy journey for him or his family but I am proud to have been part of the team of professionals, friends and family who have helped them in their time of need.”
Sergeant Steven Crane, said: “Our job isn’t always about fighting crime, it’s also about helping and supporting people in their time of need. This was a terrible time for the family and PC Smith was on hand to be able to help and support them in the hours after receiving the news.”
Stevie’s parents, Linda and Richard Payne, said: “To receive such traumatic news at 2am about one's son is any parent's worst nightmare. To find the mental capacity to deal with the emotions of hearing such traumatic news coupled with the need to focus on packing a suitcase for an unknown length of time and find all the necessary documents required to get us to Stevie's bedside in the States, was extremely difficult.
"The help provided by PC Smith in assisting us and helping us book on the very next flight to Phoenix was invaluable and we will always be very grateful. Whilst carrying out her duties in a professional manner, she was clearly aware of the need to support us as much as possible.”
Stevie Payne, said: “I can't thank Laura Smith enough for visiting my parents at their home and helping them start the journey to Arizona.
“No amount of words would be enough to convey my gratitude to my family and friends for helping me through this ordeal. But I've always been a positive person, and I've honestly never felt happier.”