Driver convicted after ramming teenage cyclist in road rage attack

Victim pinned under car and then kicked escapes serious injury, driver escapes with suspended sentence

by Simon_MacMichael   May 8, 2012  

Gavel

A Hampshire man has been given a suspended prison sentence after driving after a teenage cyclist and ramming him with his girlfriend’s car in a road rage incident in Surrey in March last year.

Sammie Wyatt, aged 24, claimed that the 17-year-old victim of the attack had scraped his girlfriend’s car after deliberately riding at it and that he had driven after him to obtain his name and address.

A jury at Guildford Crown Court last week rejected his defence, however, finding him guilty of dangerous driving, assault causing actual bodily harm and common assault, reports the website Get Surrey.

The incident took place on 19 March 2011 at The Grove, Frimley, as a group of BMX riders were heading home from a skate park in Farnborough.

Prosecuting counsel Rhiannon Sadler told the court that one of the youths accidentally scraped the Honda Civic car, which at that point was being driven by Wyatt’s girlfriend, Jodie Morris, as they squeezed between it and some parked cars.

Wyatt then took over the wheel and set off after the teenagers, grabbing one and asking the name of the cyclist involved, then drove along the street where he struck the 17-year-old with his vehicle.

“The boy came off his bicycle and ended up under the car. He was wedged underneath the vehicle,” explained Ms Sadler, adding that Wyatt kicked the teenager as he lay on the ground.

She added that the victim managed to get free and “only suffered minor injuries,” while Wyatt drove off at speed, performing dangerous overtaking manoeuvres as he did so.

Wyatt, a car sales manager, had told police in an interview read out to the jury that one of the cyclists had laughed as he rode on purpose at the car, which resulted in his girlfriend bursting into tears.

“He planned the damage to the car. He intended to do it,” he insisted. “He was laughing to his friends.”

After his conviction, Wyatt was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, and has also been ordered to perform 140 hours of unpaid work as well as paying £600 compensation to the victim.

The offence of dangerous driving of which Wyatt was convicted carries with it an automatic ban of a minimum of one year with the motorist obliged to take an extended retest. The length of ban applied in this case was not reported.

The incident echoes one we reported on in May 2010 in which a Coventry motorised was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder following a road rage incident in which he drove his car at a cyclist who had clipped his wing mirror. The victim later died at the scene from multiple injuries sustained in the attack.

Given the similarities between the two cases, in particular the way in which each started, some may view Wyatt as lucky to have escaped a charge of attempted murder.
 

18 user comments

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This case makes me go 'wow!' on just so many levels… aside from the fact that it can only have been luck that the victim wasn't maimed or killed - it certainly wasn't down to driving skill - you also have to wonder if the sentence would have been the same if, for intance, the cyclist had been a middle aged bloke on a Brompton rather than a teenager on a BMX. Bet it wouldn't.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
8th May 2012 - 12:15

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What worries me more is the mental state of someone prepared to use his vehicle as a weapon in this way - and then later, when presumably calmed down, to try and defend those actions

Sadly our courts are not sending the message that these actions *CANNOT* be tolerated

posted by mad_scot_rider [544 posts]
8th May 2012 - 12:19

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This is perfectly put!!!!

mad_scot_rider wrote:
What worries me more is the mental state of someone prepared to use his vehicle as a weapon in this way - and then later, when presumably calmed down, to try and defend those actions

Sadly our courts are not sending the message that these actions *CANNOT* be tolerated

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [105 posts]
8th May 2012 - 12:42

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Even IF the victim had intentionally scratched the car, what idiocy makes someone think a proportionate response is to hit them with the very same car? I'm going to give it a shot in the supermarket. Someone bumps my leg, I hit them with a hammer (my local has an attached DIY shop). Seems fair.

As an aside, how many scratches did he cause to his beloved girfriend's car when he hit the bike?

posted by atlaz [154 posts]
8th May 2012 - 14:41

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Britain has become a very angry, intolerant place. Even the aggressive beeping I get if I'm in the middle of the lane as I push off from traffic lights astounds me. So you can't get past? So what? I will pass you at the next junction anyway.

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posted by Sarah Barth [967 posts]
8th May 2012 - 15:36

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Why can we not such such car drivers to the front of 4x4, heads down and inches off the ground. Drive aimlessly around for hour or so/until they stop screaming/pass out etc? Smile

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [289 posts]
8th May 2012 - 15:37

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It is interesting the perception that some people have towards BMX riders in particular. I was riding down a road on mine and a car driver beeped his horn, wanting me to get out of the way. I stopped, turned round and looked at the driver and he realised that I wasn't a kid and then meekly waited for a wider section of road before he could overtake safely.

In the instance reported in this article I do think the driver's been lucky not be given a rather more serious assault charge. The offence does suggest that the perpetrator is not fit to hold a driving license at all.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2165 posts]
8th May 2012 - 15:40

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Presumably 'Sammie' (what's wrong with 'Sammy'?) has lost his job as a car sales manager. As they say on 2012, 'So that's all good then'. The only trouble is he'll probably be even more bitter and twisted and be a greater danger on the road when he gets back on to it. So best watch out for 'Sammie 'n' Jodie'.

Chiswick

posted by Chiswick [45 posts]
8th May 2012 - 16:18

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Obviously the response to the car damage was out of proportion. But what is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

posted by mrcheerful [6 posts]
8th May 2012 - 16:53

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mrcheerful wrote:
Obviously the response to the car damage was out of proportion. But what is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

i asked myself the same question..

im a cyclist, and a driver, someone who loves both my bike and my car and understand the cost of property of my own and others..

IF what the driver said is true, i can kind of (KIND OF) understand his anger, IF the damage was in fact intentional, i would have been after him too...BUT i'm not stupid enough to use 2 tonne of a weapon on the little turd..i would have caught up to him and beat the little shite within an inch of his life...lets face it, he won't pay for the damage! ..but thats just me.

scratches are expensive to repair, especially when they go through the clear coat...IF it was me, you would be reading about me too as little tits like this will go through their lives thinking thats ok to do..and the police certainly will do sod all about it leaving the driver out of pocket and very angry.

saying all that, the drivers actions were well overboard and probably just a split second of stupidity that he will pay for. i don't think the sentence was enough to be honest but where do you draw the line..our prisons are already full of morons.

the moral of this story...dont take a gun to a knife fight.

posted by quango2008 [36 posts]
8th May 2012 - 20:38

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maybe sustrans could use their lobbying power to set things aright in the courts rather than lobbying the government in Wales to fund Sustrans to build miles and miles of more shared cycleways.

The courts and police in this country are guilty on some many fronts, resulting from weak politicians and poor policy driven stats and box ticking.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

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posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
9th May 2012 - 10:17

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No mention of a driving ban. This violent bastard SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE ROAD.

What sort of company gives a manager title to a 24 year old jerk like this one? He should be made to clean the toilets every day as well.

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posted by Simon E [1940 posts]
9th May 2012 - 14:00

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quango2008 wrote:
mrcheerful wrote:
Obviously the response to the car damage was out of proportion. But what is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

i asked myself the same question..

im a cyclist, and a driver, someone who loves both my bike and my car and understand the cost of property of my own and others..

IF what the driver said is true, i can kind of (KIND OF) understand his anger, IF the damage was in fact intentional, i would have been after him too...BUT i'm not stupid enough to use 2 tonne of a weapon on the little turd..i would have caught up to him and beat the little shite within an inch of his life...lets face it, he won't pay for the damage! ..but thats just me.

scratches are expensive to repair, especially when they go through the clear coat...IF it was me, you would be reading about me too as little tits like this will go through their lives thinking thats ok to do..and the police certainly will do sod all about it leaving the driver out of pocket and very angry.

saying all that, the drivers actions were well overboard and probably just a split second of stupidity that he will pay for. i don't think the sentence was enough to be honest but where do you draw the line..our prisons are already full of morons.

the moral of this story...dont take a gun to a knife fight.

Did the defendant show any evidence of damage to the vehicle in miitigation of his actions? This hasn't been reported on. It is possible that the cyclists did damage the car deliberately and equally that they did accidentally. It is also just as likely that the driver lied to use this as an excuse for his behaviour. But whatever triggered his reaction, that reaction was utterly indefensible. He has shown he is not a person to be trusted with a motor vehicle.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2165 posts]
9th May 2012 - 14:20

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mrcheerful wrote:
Obviously the response to the car damage was out of proportion. But what is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

[[[[[[[ That's an easy one, Mr Cheerful------you roar after them in your car, knock'em off, and run them over...and then you kick them in the head for good measure, and then roar off causing yet more danger to people. Case solved!
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [276 posts]
9th May 2012 - 17:25

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I note 'Old Ridgeback' does not attempt to answer the question posed.

What is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

posted by mrcheerful [6 posts]
10th May 2012 - 8:40

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Mr Cheerful,

I have never yet been inspired to an insult by any post on this site...until now. Clearly you are a moron. Phew! I feel better now.

Old Ridgeback doesn't attempt to answer the question because it's a bloody stupid question and until your second post we all gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was rhetorical...but no, apparently you really ARE that stupid.

Are you seriously asking us to explain to you what the 'correct' response should be if you're not allowed to resort to attempted murder? Really? that's your position: "If I can't kill him well then what AM I allowed to do??"

Jesus man...get a grip

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
10th May 2012 - 15:56

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Lacticlegs wrote:
Mr Cheerful,

I have never yet been inspired to an insult by any post on this site...until now. Clearly you are a moron. Phew! I feel better now.

Old Ridgeback doesn't attempt to answer the question because it's a bloody stupid question and until your second post we all gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was rhetorical...but no, apparently you really ARE that stupid.

Are you seriously asking us to explain to you what the 'correct' response should be if you're not allowed to resort to attempted murder? Really? that's your position: "If I can't kill him well then what AM I allowed to do??"

Jesus man...get a grip

Old Ridgeback has been able to give a sensible reply, unlike you.

posted by mrcheerful [6 posts]
10th May 2012 - 22:01

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mrcheerful wrote:
I note 'Old Ridgeback' does not attempt to answer the question posed.

What is the correct way to deal with a gang of unidentifiable yobs on bikes that have deliberately or accidentally damaged you or your property?

I thought you could read between the lines but evidently not. The correct way to respond would be to use your cellphone to take images of the perpetrators and also of the damage to your vehicle.

This could then be shown to the police as evidence. The people may not be identifiable to you at the time but I'm sure they would to the police - especially if they were regular offenders.

If a child is under the age of 16 he or she may not be held liable if my memory serves me correctly. The teenager in this attack was aged 17 and if the driver had been able to prove his girlfriend's vehicle had been damaged, he would have been able to sue. However, had the teenagers been younger the car owner would still be able to claim from the insurance, albeit in the knowledge that this would affect the following premium renewal.

In the case reported here, we have not seen evidence that the teenagers actually did damage the vehicle either maliciously or accidentally though. The man did claim this but then he's proven to be an aggressive and abusive bully with a hair trigger temper wnd who does not understand what constitutes a fair or measured response to a minor incident, so I wouldn't exactly describe him as trustworthy or reliable.

I've had my motorbikes smashed up by careless drivers who have then buggered off and left me with costly repairs to foot out of my own pocket so I'm well used to the idea of people doing hit and run damage. As far as I'm aware, not one of those was carried out by a teenage driver though and according to witness reports (who were all too slow to get a registration plate) they were all middle aged white blokes. The one who I did see was in a manky old Ford that probably wasn't insured or MOTd, which was why he pissed off while I was lying on the ground.

And don't get me started on hit and run drivers in cars and vans knocking me and other cyclists off our bicycles.

We don't live in the Middle Ages and nor do we live in a lawless society in a country without government or organisational structure such as Somalia. If someone does you wrong in the UK (or any developed nation) there are systems in place by which you can seek recompense from and punishment against offenders.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2165 posts]
10th May 2012 - 23:09

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