A driver who made a U-turn and rammed a cyclist then drove off has been jailed for 30 months after admitting offences including causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Former police officer Duncan Castle sustained injuries including bleeding on the brain when Kieran Smith drove into him from the rear in Magdalen Laver near North Weald, Essex, on 5 November 2017, reports Essex Live.
Carolyn Gardiner, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Crown Court that Mr Castle was on a two-hour training ride, cycling at between 18 and 19 mph when the incident happened.
“Mr Castle said that he saw a group of cyclists about 75 metres ahead travelling in the opposite direction,” she said.
“Almost at the same time he saw a Volkswagen vehicle in the process of overtaking the cyclists.
“Mr Castle described that section of road as being straight but narrow and his initial thought on seeing the car approach was ‘s**t what a stupid place to overtake’.”
The cyclist estimated the speed of the car to be around 30 mph and decided to take evasive action, moving towards the side of the road, saying after the incident that the car would have hit him head-on had he not done so.
He gestured at the driver with his right hand, as if to say ‘what are you doing?’ and in making the motion his hand was said to have made contact with Smith’s wing mirror, the court was told.
Ms Gardiner said: “Mr Castle put his hand straight back on the handlebar and continued his journey.
“He continued on for about five or six seconds and then the next thing he remembers is waking up with the ambulance crew talking to him.”
Witnesses described how Smith immediately turned his vehicle around and drove after Mr Castle, with the driver of a car that had been behind the motorist shouting a warning to the cyclist to “Watch out, he’s coming back for you.”
Meanwhile, three cyclists in the group Smith had overtaking earlier saw him heading back towards them, “revving hard and driving aggressively,” according to Ms Gardiner. The other driver estimated his speed at in excess of 50 mph.
The collision left Mr Castle unconscious and with injuries to his shoulder and hip as well as a serious cut on his temple, bruises and grazing, and continues to suffer the effects of the incident a year on.
In victim impact statements he also said that nowadays he is most likely to cycle on a static bike in his garage and if he does venture out, he informs his family of his route and uses a tracking app on his phone so they will know if anything is amiss.
Smith, who was also charged with driving with no licence, driving with no insurance, failure to stop and failure to report an accident, had a number of previous driving-related convictions.
The most recent came two months earlier when he was convicted of failure to stop and careless driving.
Speaking in mitigation, Clare Leslie said Smith had endured “a troubled and unsettled childhood and now as an adult has continued to have issues with alcohol and drugs, namely cocaine.
“At the time of the incident he was clean,” she said, adding that although he had relapsed following the incident, he was now attending a programme to help him overcome his addictions, and that “He appears in court today, clean and full of remorse."
Sentencing Smith, Judge Christopher Morgan said: “I have read about your difficult background, but this in no way explains what you did to Mr Castle.
“Your record for driving is quite appalling. A number of offences driving without insurance and of course a conviction which resulted in a community order in September last year.
“This incident occurred in November within a matter of months of you appearing in court for incident of careless driving, you failed to stop.
“Any cyclist is a vulnerable road user, they have little protection. When you turned your car around and the red mist descended you intended to take your frustration out on this cyclist.
“He had done nothing wrong. You know that you had no justification for this response. You decided in your anger to turn your car around.
“You say you lost control, but the point you drove towards him, you drove in such a manner a collision was inevitable.
“You fled the scene, for all you knew you had left him at the side of the road to die.”
Besides the 30-month jail sentence, Smith was banned from driving for three years and three months and will need to take an extended test to obtain a licence.
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.