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Drink driver who ploughed into cyclist with friend riding on bonnet jailed for 14 months

Daniel Fownes was already serving a suspended sentence for stealing from his employer when he drunkenly hit a cyclist while Fownes' friend was on his bonnet...

A drink driver who could be heard laughing as he sped through a Derbyshire town while his friend rode on his bonnet before hitting and injuring a cyclist has been jailed for 14 months. 

35-year-old Daniel Fownes, a father of two, was already serving a suspended sentence for stealing more than £2,000 from a restaurant he was working at in Nottingham at the time of the offence at 3.55pm on 3 April last year in Ripley town centre, reports the Derby Telegraph

Derby Crown Court heard that Fownes had been in pubs drinking beer and sambuca in the hours leading up to the incident, and CCTV footage was played showing the moment the Vauxhall Fownes was driving crashed into the victim's bike, sending him "20m down the road before coming to a stop" according to Recorder Simon Ash KC. 

The Recorder added: "Witnesses heard laughter coming from the car because you thought it was funny. You could not see through the windscreen because your friend was on the bonnet.

"You hit (the victim) and he was knocked from his bike and he was then picked up and taken 20m down the road before coming to a stop. He was taken to hospital for treatment and there were large dents in the bonnet and the windscreen was smashed and this was a busy area where there were pedestrians."

The prosecutor Catherin Picardom told the court: "CCTV shows them [Fownes and his friend] first struggling towards the vehicle before the defendant got in the driver's seat and his friend climbed on the bonnet. Witnesses said at first it was doing around 10mph to 15mph but then sped up to a speed estimated to be around 40mph.

"It went down High Street and into Oxford Street, which is a one-way, where the impact was very, very, quick. He [the victim] fell to the floor and people came out of the shops very quickly to help him. The friend tried to help but unfortunately he was the worst for drink and put him in the recovery position.

"An ambulance was called and the cyclist was slurring. He was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital where fortunately his injuries were relatively minor.

"The defendant carried out a breath test at the scene and blew 74 (micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35) and a further reading on the intoxiliser of 70. In interview he said they had been going from pub to pub and that he'd had four pints of lager and a sambuca shot."

In mitigation, Denney Lau said: "It is quite clear that on the day the owner of the car was the friend, my client was driving, he was joking and he accepts he did something very stupid."

Fownes pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving and driving without insurance before being handed his 14-month prison sentence. 

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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17 comments

Avatar
nniff | 1 year ago
1 like

Perhaps hIs suspended sentence was because he would never have stolen from his employer had he not been a thief, and he wouldn't have been a thief at all if he hadn't stolen.  So as a victim of circumstance, if it worked once,  maybe try it again....

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HoarseMann | 1 year ago
10 likes

Not cycling related, but this is a weird one - especially as being drunk was used as a mitigation for a drink driving charge!

"Nicholas White, mitigating, said that Farrell was of previously good character and that if he had not been drunk he would not have driven the bus."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11474591/Reveller-drove-safe-bu...

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eburtthebike replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
5 likes

Incredible defence.  What next?  I was speeding but in mitigation, I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been going so fast?

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like

I couldn't see that I was driving without lights, because it was so dark...

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
3 likes

Perhaps he thought it was too dangerous to drive his car home, and instead remembered that it's far safer to 'take the bus'.

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Rendel Harris replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
3 likes

There was a case many years back I recall of a guy who offered the extenuation in court that he had no intention of drink-driving but the landlord of the pub he went to had given him a double whisky on the house, which he had drunk "without thinking" which had the effect of making him reckless and drinking four pints instead of the two he had intended to have. I can't remember which paper it was but there was a headline "I only got drunk because I was drunk, claims driver", which I think summed it up.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
3 likes

"I drink without thinking, please let me keep my licence". Brilliant!

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IanMK | 1 year ago
3 likes

How does the existing suspended sentence work? I assume the 14 months is just for this offence and he will now have to serve the outstanding sentence as well?

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMK | 1 year ago
2 likes
IanMK wrote:

How does the existing suspended sentence work? I assume the 14 months is just for this offence and he will now have to serve the outstanding sentence as well?

I think (though IANAL) the suspended sentence now goes back to the court that originally imposed it and they decide how serious the new offence is, how much it relates to the original offence, how well the defendant has complied with the terms of their suspended sentence and so on. They can then leave the sentence suspended or reimpose part or all of it. They can also decide to reimpose but let it run concurrently with the new sentence or order it to run consecutively.

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IanMSpencer replied to IanMK | 1 year ago
0 likes

In theory they should also be under the supervision of a parol officer for the period of suspension but I suspect that doesn't happen in practice due to stuff.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
7 likes

"The friend tried to help but unfortunately he was the worst for drink and put him in the recovery position."

Lucky the cyclist did not have spine or neck injuries then, as this could have paralysed him.

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Why no effort to get a suspended sentence on the grounds that e.g. "but it's not fair to his kids - who'll drive them now" or "but how will he repay his employer if he can't work"?

It seems that drunk driving is the one thing that (mostly...) people agree is beyond the pale when operating a vehicle.  That's an improvement but it seems to make everything else a minor or non-issue.

So phone use or other distractions are dismissed.  Not driving to conditions isn't regarded as particularly dangerous e.g. speeding, driving at the speed limit in low sun, the dark, fog.  "I didn't see" AKA didn't bother to look is the go-to defense.  All are "nothing like drink driving".  Even though their effects have been shown to be equal to heavy intoxication.

This "anchoring effect" (one really bad thing so everything else must be less so) is so common that folks on this very forum have espoused it.

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rogerbeardswort... replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
6 likes

Beyond the pale, yet still only a fourteen month sentence. I can't help always comparing to Charlie Alliston's eighteen month sentence.

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essexian | 1 year ago
1 like

"Section 141 of the Licensing Act 2003 makes it an offence to knowingly sell or attempt to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk, or to knowingly allow alcohol to be sold to such a person on licensed premises"

I take it that as this "person" went from pub to pub getting more and more drunk, the pubs which served them when its against the law to do so, will be losing their licences? If not, why not?

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Rendel Harris replied to essexian | 1 year ago
8 likes

Well...I'm totally on board with more rigorous enforcement of the law about serving alcohol to someone who's drunk, but it's a hard one to enforce as there's no legal definition of what constitutes "drunk". Plenty of people who drink regularly can drink four pints without showing much outward sign of intoxication, and as this specimen seems to have gone from pub to pub having a pint in each the publicans wouldn't have been able to monitor how much he'd had. He could also have been bought some or all of the drinks by his friend and so have had no direct contact with bar staff. So while I think you make a valid point I can't see too much blame lying with the pubs in this instance, it's not like some cases one hears of where a local is allowed to drink six pints then go and get in their car with the bar staff knowing full well what they're up to.  

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brooksby replied to essexian | 1 year ago
1 like
essexian wrote:

"Section 141 of the Licensing Act 2003 makes it an offence to knowingly sell or attempt to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk, or to knowingly allow alcohol to be sold to such a person on licensed premises"

Is that so?  That just seems really weird, given that the job of a publican is to - er - sell alcohol...

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essexian replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

Not to drunk people.

S/he should lose their licence. Sorry, the law is clear. 

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