A road rage driver who admitted charges of assaulting two cyclists who turned out to be an off-duty traffic police officer has been fined £400 and banned from driving for two months.
Former lorry driver Kenneth Warrington, aged 55, also admitted careless driving during the incident on Sligo Road, Enniskillen, on 27 March this year, according to Northern Ireland-based news website, Impartial Reporter.
Separate charges relating to disorderly conduct and blocking the road were dropped..
Sergeant Alan Ward and Constable Ruairi McMahon were riding along the Sligo Road with a third cyclist when a coach passed them, with an Isuzu Trooper 4X4 driven by Warrington following behind.
Two of the cyclists were riding abreast, and the court was told that he beeped his horn and passed the cyclists so close that one of them was forced to take evasive action.
According to the prosecution, the motorist then stopped his vehicle, blocking the road and causing the cyclists to stop, then approached them in what was described as a state of agitation, with clenched fists and swearing at them.
Sergeant Ward, who works at the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Roads Policing Unit, stretched his arm out to try and calm the driver down, but Warrington pushed it away.
He then returned to his car and drove off, but the two police officers were able to identify him and police interviewed him a week later, when he said he was the driver involved and admitted pushing the cyclist’s arm.
In court, he also admitted through his defence solicitor, Myles McManus that he had used his horn and had passed the cyclists too close.
Mr McManus said: “This was a momentary outburst of bad temper and out of character,” adding that Warrington’s haulage firm had gone out of business due to the recession.
The lawyer said that during his work as a lorry driver, his client drove “millions upon millions of miles” and had an unblemished driving record other than receiving points on his licence for not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone.
Claiming that the third cyclist had made a rude gesture, Mr McManus said of Warrington, “He is not a man who causes difficulty for other road users.”
Besides the physical assault on Sergeant Ward, Warrington, whom his lawyer said accepted that “cyclists are very vulnerable road users,” also admitted assaulting Constable McMahon due to the fear of injury caused to the latter by passing him with only two or three feet to spare.
“This is not the most serious of incidents to come before the court,” Mr McManus added.
However, passing sentence, District Judge Nigel Broderick told Warrington: “This was a nasty incident, typically described as road rage,” and that whatever gesture had been made was no excuse for his actions.
He added: “I think your emotions got the better of you.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.