Eight months jail for vision-impaired motorist who struck rider
Retiree was undergoing treatment for cataracts, glaucoma when he hit cyclist
A man has been jailed for eight months following an incident in which he struck a cyclist while driving with what he knew to be seriously impaired eyesight, the Hendon & Finchley Times reports.
Retired Michael Elliott, 64, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire was receiving treatment for glaucoma and cataracts when the accident happened last year. It was on the evening of November 12 as he drove his Land Rover to a photographic club meeting that Elliot ploughed into keen cyclist Patrice Gougam, head tennis coach at Enfield Tennis club.
Elliott, however, simply carried on with his journey before spending two hours at the meeting. He would later claim he did not know he had struck somebody, although he saw fit to check the scene on his way home.
At St Albans Crown Court where the case was heard, defending barrister, Gavin Irwin said: “He was in a panic. At first he thought he had clipped the curb. Then he realised he had connected with a human being.”
It was only on seeing police at the scene that Elliott identified himself to them. In court he entered guilty pleas to charges of dangerous driving, driving with a medical condition, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the DVLA of his eyesight issues.
The court heard from Mr Gougam’s wife, Virginia, who said her life had been “falling apart” since the accident, due to financial difficulties brought about by her husband's inability to work and his need for constant care.
In jailing Elliott, the recorder Philip Brook-Smith QC said he had to take into account the fact that Elliott had driven knowing he had poor eyesight, had failed to stop following the incident and had caused serious injuries to Mr Gougam.
Elliott will be required to serve half of his eight month sentence in prison.