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Van driver who failed to stop had already admitted charges relating to drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident

A jury in South Wales has found the driver of the van that struck and seriously injured Paralympic cycling champion Simon Richardson in August last year guilty of dangerous driving. During the trial this week, Newport Crown Court had heard how farmer Edward Adams had admitted driving while drunk and failing to stop after an accident, reports BBC Wales News.

The incident happened on the A48 near Bridgend on 11 August 2011 and left Richardson in a coma for three weeks and ended his dreams of defending the two Paralympic titles he won at Beijing in 2008. The 44-year-old was on a training ride as part of his preparations to try and qualify for London 2012.

Jane Rowley, on behalf of the prosecution, told the court that not only was Adams was two times over the legal drink drive limit, but also that even when wearing the glasses he uses for driving, he was unable to read a number plate from a distance of four metres, and could only read part of one from two metres.

The Highway Code stipulates that in good daylight, a driver must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres.

She also said that Adams had tried to conceal his van at his farm but it was found with the assistance of a police helicopter and when examined had a damaged wing and windscreen.

In a statement, witness Gordon Broomfield revealed that he had overtaken both Adams’ van and Richardson prior to the incident.

He described how he checked his rear view mirror expecting the van to pull out to overtake the cyclist then “looked in disbelief” as it struck Richardson, hurling him into the air.

He said that he tried to force the van to pull over, but it drove away from the scene, whereupon he himself stopped and called the emergency services.

The jury was informed that Adams has told police when they interviewed him that he had begun drinking whisky at 6am that morning when he woke up. He said that he had been aware of a car overtaking him, but claimed to have been blinded by sunlight when the incident happened.

He attributed the collision with Richardson to his having hit a sheep, and claimed that was why he did not stop. He stated that the incident had left him shaken and he had continued to drink whisky when he returned home, adding that he was sorry for having hit someone with his van.

Last August’s incident is the second time that Richardson has received serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle while cycling.
In 2001, he was hit by a car while out on a club run, the incident leaving him with no feeling on the left-hand side of his body.

On medical advice, he started cycling again and within a year was racing for Wales on an adapted bicycle that was powered by his right leg.

At the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, he won a gold medal in the LC 3–4 class kilo with a world record time of 1 minute 14.936 second and also won the LC3–4 3km individual pursuit, as well as a silver medal in the LC3 class road time trial.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

35 comments

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JohnS [198 posts] 3 years ago
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Now what does the Highway Code say you should do if you can't see where you're going...?

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't know how to word this, so if it offends someone, then i'm sorry.

Prior to 2001, was Simon a normal cyclist? Just interested, it has nothing to do with this case though.

About this case. Its shocking about him drinking and not stopping. But even worse. To only be able to read a partial plate at 2 meters. Surely that is verging on blind. How on earth was his doctor, optician or anyone letting him drive in the first place.

I hope the court does not accept any plea's and find him guilty of it all. To say you are not dangerous when
1. you're drunk driving.
2. you didn't bother to stopped because you "thought" it was a sheep.
3. you have pretty much NO eyesight.

Then to top it off, you try and hide the evidence  14

Any one of those is dangerous enough. All 3 is beyond belief. Time for the courts to step up and whack a MASSIVE jail sentence on him.

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guidob [56 posts] 3 years ago
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If I punched you hard enough to put you in a coma for three weeks I would expect to go to jail, whether i was drunk, thought you were a sheep, or I was practically blind.

Why is this any different? I will not accept any excuse that uses the word 'accident'

As a recent SMIDSY incident survivor the police desire to talk me out of reporting the crime was annoying, and then when the process did start the driver got upset that I had reported it to the traffic police...

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pjay [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Just shocking. Someone needs to publicise these cases and push for the law to be made much, much stronger.

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georgee [160 posts] 3 years ago
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What's the betting here, £250 fine and three points? maybe a more extreme sentence where Edward Adams needs write a letter of apology?

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livestrongnick [2118 posts] 3 years ago
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Cases of driving over the limit disgust me, simply because that person is allowed behind the wheel of a car again!!  14
Prison sentence followed by life ban from driving!!!  45

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GetPedalPowered [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Sickening story and a total coward hiding behind a total BS fabricated story, can't see get off the road apparently 20% of drivers would fail the 20m test now

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nowasps [377 posts] 3 years ago
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Give him a break, the sun was in his eyes!

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1961BikiE [146 posts] 3 years ago
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He could only read a partial number plate at 2 meters. How can he claim to have been blinded by an object 98M miles away.

Sorry for the flippancy.

As said it will be very interesting to see the outcome. I would not be surprised to see the "Dangerous Driving" to be reduced to "Undue Car and Attention" or whatever it's called these days. It's usually claimed that "Dangerous Driving" can't be proven.

If my eyesight was that bad, I rode my bike drunk, knocked over a pensioner, ran from the scene and tried to hide my guilt but was later found the national press would be up in arms. It would be a front page story calling for the culling of all cyclists.

Unless of course a footballer was found to have had a shag with someone. The only sort of story that would knock me off the cover.

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sparrow_h [35 posts] 3 years ago
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If he thought he had hit a sheep, why would he have hidden his van? Sounds like this man is not being completely honest here, in his efforts to weasel out of taking responsibility for seriously injuring someone and leaving them to die.

I can't see how he can deny that he was driving dangerously. How safe would he feel if everyone drove like that???

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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 13 13 13

My eyesight is pretty bad (-6.5 with an extra 1.25 astigmatism). When others try my specs on for a laugh, they joke that it's 'like taking drugs'. I cannot read even the top line unaided when I have an eye test. I sure as f*** wouldn't go anywhere, even walking, without specs. YET... I reckon I can see part of a number plate at 2 metres without them. And this was measured WITH his specs on!

This is beyond disgusting. If it wasn't for the witness, and indeed the Police willingness to deploy the helicopter to search for the vehicle, would he have even been caught? He seriously, seriously, needs the book thrown at him.

How can you be over the limit, that myopic, THOUGHT you only hit a sheep, and yet deny dangerous driving?! FFS.

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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If his eyesight was so bad, how could he have possibly been convinced that it was a sheep that he'd hit? As sparrow_h says, why hide the van too?

Sounds like someone who is utterly reckless when it comes to other people's safety.

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alronald [58 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm sorry but if he has a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit and can only partially read a number plate 2 metres away when the law says he should be able to read one 20 metres away then surely any attempt he makes to drive is by definition dangerous regardless of whether he hits someone or not and he should be found guilty.

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edf242 [39 posts] 3 years ago
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This certainly makes for interesting reading,

http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/fact_sheets/dangerous_driving/

In this case, even if the driver doesn't believe they were driving dangerously, being over the limit or having bad eye sight still constitutes dangerous driving, so its difficult to see how or why it is possible for the driver to plead not guilty when both have been proven. Can any lawyers amongst the readership illuminate why he might have been advised to do this? Also the penalty says 1 to 14 years, is this advisor or if convicted will the minimum sentence be a custodial one?

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1961BikiE [146 posts] 3 years ago
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We'll see. I do not doubt that he will be found guilty. I am just curious as to see what he is found guilty of and the sentence that is handed down.

When I grew up I was taught that a "Hit and run" accident was a criminal offence irrespective out the actual degree of the accident. But so often now this elemnet seems to be almost totally ignored.

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cidermart [486 posts] 3 years ago
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So he also broke the law by not reporting that he had hit a sheep to the police within 24hrs let alone being pissed out of his head and not able to see. Ooooh I feel some quality british justice about to be delivered.  14 14 14

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workhard [397 posts] 3 years ago
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spot on guidob, spot on.

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WolfieSmith [1244 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm still confused at the differentiation between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving. Surely careless driving IS dangerous driving? Is there a difference between careless and dangerous shooting?

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thereverent [386 posts] 3 years ago
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Aweful case. I hoop Simon Richardson recovers.

If Edward Adams was driving drunk with defective eyesight the law should automatically consider this dangerous driving.

Surely hiding his van should fall under Perverting the course of justice as well.

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antonio [1102 posts] 3 years ago
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A solicitor who puts forward a plea of not guilty on behalf of a client who admits drunken driving and driving with defective eyesight to dangerous driving should be in the dock as well, outrageous.

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cw42 [36 posts] 3 years ago
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You can follow simon on twitter at @CyclingSimonMBE

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alronald [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Mostyn [396 posts] 3 years ago
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Plain and simple; this guy is a Murderer and should be treated like one. Hope he gets a long long very long sentence in prison

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bendertherobot [699 posts] 3 years ago
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Just a few points.

1. The guy isn't actually a murderer as no-one is dead.

2. On the "how can a lawyer advise" point. I'll guarantee you, as a lawyer, that his lawyer would have told him that he was screwed. But you do what your client tells you as long as you don't mislead the Court in doing so.

Back to the main part, my main concern is that the serious prison sentences (if you can even call them that) are for causing death by dangerous/careless driving and not, believe it or not, causing injury by.

I'm hoping for a prison sentence here but I'll bet he "gets away with it."

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 3 years ago
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alronald wrote:

I'm sorry but if he has a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit and can only partially read a number plate 2 metres away when the law says he should be able to read one 20 metres away then surely any attempt he makes to drive is by definition dangerous regardless of whether he hits someone or not and he should be found guilty.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? I hate these scumbags that try to escape the consequences of their stupidity.

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JohnS [198 posts] 3 years ago
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I really hope he doesn't get off with a slap on the wrist. Several years in prison and a lifetime driving ban would be appropriate.

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zeb [48 posts] 3 years ago
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I am surprised they did not say he had the sun in the eyes...

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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@zeb: He did!

From the BBC:
The jury also heard Adams, when interviewed by police, said he had been drinking the night before and had drunk his first whisky at 6am when he woke up.

Edward Adams denied dangerous driving in August 2011 but admitted drink-driving
Adams said: "I couldn't see a cyclist. I followed a black car and he pulled across."

"I assumed that he was pulled across he was turning off the road. I now know he was driving around the other car."

"Later I felt one hell of a bang and I thought I had hit a sheep. I slowed right down.

He admitted lying to police about driving at the time of the accident at 9.40am on a morning trip to pick up oil.

Adams said he had seen a car overtake him on the road where the incident happened and then he was blinded by sunlight.

So he didn't just not see the cyclist, he didn't see 'the other car' that the black car overtook?! What?! The guy can't see a damn thing!

At least the jury have returned the right verdict. Now watch as the Judge mumbles something about previous good character and lets him walk away with community service, a fine and a 12 month ban.

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benb [77 posts] 3 years ago
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As I understand it, careless driving is driving of a standard that falls below that expected of a competent driver, and dangerous driving is driving that falls FAR below that expected of a competent driver.

Pretty subjective.

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bendertherobot [699 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm afraid that dangerous driving is not a mandatory prison sentence. It's also a maximum of 2 years. Even cases of causing death by dangrous driving have resulted in suspended sentences.

That's the problem here. Remember that the Judge can only sentence with what he's got and in accordance with previous cases.

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