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Updated: Driver in Simon Richardson case found guilty of dangerous driving

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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pjay | 11 years ago

Just shocking. Someone needs to publicise these cases and push for the law to be made much, much stronger.

guidob | 11 years ago

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...

workhard replied to guidob | 11 years ago

spot on guidob, spot on.

Gkam84 | 11 years ago

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.

JohnS | 11 years ago

Now what does the Highway Code say you should do if you can't see where you're going...?


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