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Delivery driver who smoked “six joints of marijuana” before hitting cyclist avoids prison sentence

The driver had been out partying and had only three hours of sleep before colliding with the cyclist, who was left with a “cracked” kidney and needing plastic surgery to her head

A delivery driver who had smoked as much as six joints of weed and was “out partying” before driving straight into a cyclist and knocking her down, leaving her with severe injuries requiring stitches and even plastic surgery to her head, has avoided jail due to the time it took for the case to get to court.

Marek Grzezulkowski, aged 43, reportedly had only had three hours of sleep when he drove his Mercedes van into the back of the cyclist on Fishmore Road, Ludlow on New Year’s Eve, 2021, reports Shropshire Star.

She was left with a “cracked” kidney and needed plastic surgery to an injury for her head, which was the size of a “two pound coin” and required 15 to 20 stitches.

The victim also had severe grazing to her toe and knee, heavy bruising to her inner thighs and “severe pain” in many areas of her body. She also described having mood swings during the month after the crash happened, although no brain injuries were discovered.

Dashcam footage from Grzezulkowski's van was played to Shrewsbury Crown Court, showing his vehicle travelling at around 30mph and not slowing down before colliding with the victim.

Grzezulkowski was later drug tested and found to have 4.2 micrograms of Delta 9 THC per litre of blood, which is the main psychoactive part of cannabis. That is more than twice the legal limit of 2 micrograms, when considering the possibility of accidental exposure.

> Dope pedallers nabbed smuggling marijuana in bike tyres

The court heard that he had called the ambulance and stayed with the victim. However, it remained disputed whether he had fallen asleep or was just driving carelessly when he hit the cyclist.

He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Alexa Carrier, mitigating, said: “He told me he can't express his remorse enough and wishes he could switch places with the victim.”

However, recorder MacAdam expressed his concern and objection at the amount of time it took for the case to be processed, saying it should have taken a matter of weeks for Grzezulkowski to be charged and eventually sentenced, especially given his full admissions to the police.

He told the court: “This case, although serious, was a simple investigation.”

He added, addressing Grzezulkowski: “I fully accept you are remorseful. If this had been presented earlier and you were in court when you should have been, I may well have thought an immediate prison sentence was appropriate. However, I have to take into account the period of time that has passed.”

He handed Grzezulkowski a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. MacAdam also disqualified him from driving for two years, ordered him to carry out 20 rehabilitation activity days, and pay £250 in prosecution costs.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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25 comments

Avatar
Das | 8 months ago
1 like

I will never understand how it's possible to have a "legal limit" for an illegal drug. 🤔

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hawkinspeter replied to Das | 8 months ago
2 likes

Das wrote:

I will never understand how it's possible to have a "legal limit" for an illegal drug. 🤔

Tests aren't perfect and there's always the chance of inadvertently absorbing drugs by handling money (most commonly cocaine) or breathing in someone's smoke. There's also false positivies such as poppy seeds triggering the tests for heroin.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes

Never touched drugs in my life and had a sniffer dog pick me up once after work. The joys of working in the media industry.

Should be much tougher sentences for drug driving though, it seems to be an increasing issue around here. I've followed vehicles even in my car with the windows up and had the stench of weed come through the vents.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
1 like

Adam Sutton wrote:

Never touched drugs in my life and had a sniffer dog pick me up once after work. The joys of working in the media industry.

Should be much tougher sentences for drug driving though, it seems to be an increasing issue around here. I've followed vehicles even in my car with the windows up and had the stench of weed come through the vents.

The only time I've caught the interest of a sniffer dog was when flying to Australia. However, that was a fruit/seed sniffer and I had to answer questions about whether I'd previously had bananas in my bag (I had and the dog's nose was picking that up).

Personally, I'd prefer that the police target erratic drivers rather than trying to follow their noses. It's the general poor standard of driving that worries me more than what the driver has consumed.

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open_roads | 8 months ago
8 likes

Cannabis consumption by drivers is a lot more widespread than many people think.

In the last few months I've seen two Ocado Zoom drivers on their electric three wheel moped things smoking joints whilst driving.

I've also seen food service moped "riders" (just eat / deliveroo) pull up at the entrance to local parks, go inside for a joint then get back on their mopeds and drive off.

There's no point reporting this to the police because ... well we all know why.

 

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IanMK | 8 months ago
3 likes

Under what circumstances would he now be sent to jail? If the defendant was found driving without a license? If he was in possesion of cannabis? ie how serious does his next offence have to be to have the suspension removed?

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMK | 8 months ago
0 likes

IanMK wrote:

Under what circumstances would he now be sent to jail? If the defendant was found driving without a license? If he was in possesion of cannabis? ie how serious does his next offence have to be to have the suspension removed?

It's all at the discretion of the authorities, but basically:

Multiple offences of the same nature or a more serious offence = full activation of custodial sentence

Single offence of the same nature or multiple less serious offences = full or partial activation of custodial sentence (compliance with conditions of suspended sentence, e.g. curfew, rehabilitation activities et cetera, taken into account)

New offence less serious than original offence that would not get a custodial sentence of itself = partial activation of original custodial sentence, extension of suspension period and/or imposition of new requirements, or financial penalty.

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HoarseMann | 8 months ago
12 likes

It's worrying the number of cars that pass by stinking of weed.

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Rendel Harris replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
8 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

It's worrying the number of cars that pass by stinking of weed.

Especially trades vans in the morning rush hour; the number of people who appear to be getting lit up on their way to work with electrical, plumbing, gas and other building installations, where errors could be fatal either for themselves and their fellow workers or the occupants of buildings at a later date, is scary.

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Fignon's ghost replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
4 likes

I have to agree. I do morning and afternoon rides. I find the trail of smell of weed from vans (most often) throughout the day. I've tried ro distinguish which is more prominent. But it seems to be all day long! NOT GOOD. DO NOT GET HIGH AND DRIVE.

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Adam Sutton replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
1 like

Generally seems to be on the rise. I can pretty much guarantee smelling weed when out, cycling, walking, on the train or driving. In many cases smoked blatantly in the open.

edited for context, hope that is Ok!

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Fursty Ferret | 8 months ago
1 like

Purely speculative, but every time a case is presided over by a "Recorder" the judgement and sentencing is wholely inappropriate. Why is this?

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EddyBerckx | 8 months ago
13 likes

A rare case of a driver staying with the victim AND admitting his fault and seemingly showng actual remourse...

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Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
12 likes

Quote:

"If this had been presented earlier and you were in court when you should have been, I may well have thought an immediate prison sentence was appropriate. However, I have to take into account the period of time that has passed.”

Why? Does a crime get less serious the longer it takes to get to trial? Quite ludicrous and the judge should be asked by the Lord Chief Justice's department what the logic was in using the length of time before trial as a mitigating factor in sentencing.

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Tom_77 replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Why? Does a crime get less serious the longer it takes to get to trial? Quite ludicrous and the judge should be asked by the Lord Chief Justice's department what the logic was in using the length of time before trial as a mitigating factor in sentencing.

ECHR Article 6:

1 In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

See also:

Quote:

Where proceedings are unduly delayed that delay may count as a mitigating factor in appropriate circumstances. The threshold is necessarily a high one.

I think in some circumstances a significant delay could be a mitigating factor, particularly if the defendant can show that they have "turned their life around".

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Rendel Harris replied to Tom_77 | 8 months ago
1 like

If the judge was applying that Article of the ECHR he would appear to have misinterpreted it, as the "reasonable time" is defined as the time between charge and trial; it appears from the judge's remarks that he was objecting to the length of time it took for the defendant to be charged, which does not come under the aegis of the Article. 

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Quote:

"If this had been presented earlier and you were in court when you should have been, I may well have thought an immediate prison sentence was appropriate. However, I have to take into account the period of time that has passed.”

Why? Does a crime get less serious the longer it takes to get to trial? Quite ludicrous and the judge should be asked by the Lord Chief Justice's department what the logic was in using the length of time before trial as a mitigating factor in sentencing.

I think it's to take into account the stress and anxiety that the defendant is subjected to whilst waiting.

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open_roads replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like

It's a shame the life long "stress and anxiety" of the deceased's family counts for so little in the sentencing process 

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mattw replied to open_roads | 8 months ago
1 like

open_roads wrote:

It's a shame the life long "stress and anxiety" of the deceased's family counts for so little in the sentencing process 

Deceased? Are you on the right story, or have I missed something?

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ROOTminus1 replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
4 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I think it's to take into account the stress and anxiety that the defendant is subjected to whilst waiting.

I was the victim of an RTI on Christmas eve 2021 (thankfully in my car, not on my bike) and still haven't had any resolution on my no-fault insurance claim, nor the compensation for injury.
The punishment for perpetrators decreases over time because of the stress and anxiety of their consequences, but the damages for victims stays exactly where the f*ck it is.
(Decreasing over time in fact due to inflation)

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ROOTminus1 | 8 months ago
1 like

ROOTminus1 wrote:

I was the victim of an RTI on Christmas eve 2021 (thankfully in my car, not on my bike) and still haven't had any resolution on my no-fault insurance claim, nor the compensation for injury. The punishment for perpetrators decreases over time because of the stress and anxiety of their consequences, but the damages for victims stays exactly where the f*ck it is. (Decreasing over time in fact due to inflation)

Sorry to hear that, and hope you're recovering well.

Slow justice doesn't help either the victim or the perpetrator, so I reckon RTIs can be reformed to drastically speed up the process. If we have some kind of insurance-mandated black boxes installed in all vehicles then most RTIs would be trivial to identify the at fault party. I also think that black boxes with some kind of accelerometer would be able to provide the driver with a feedback score of how smooth their driving is - this could be really useful in identifying medical issues if the driver's reactions degrade, leading to harsher braking etc.

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ROOTminus1 replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes

I had one of those on a previous insurance plan, and I was penalised, not for my driving style, which was scored rather well, but because I chose to drive motorway miles late at night. My reasoning is that there are fewer idiots on the roads at that time, but they were all "Ooh, you might get tired"

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quiff replied to ROOTminus1 | 8 months ago
0 likes

I considered a black box insurance plan but declined because (a) my only motoring at the time was motorway miles in the evening / night; and (b) in between those trips, the car was sitting unused for 1-2 weeks, so I was worried the black box would drain the battery.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ROOTminus1 | 8 months ago
1 like

ROOTminus1 wrote:

I had one of those on a previous insurance plan, and I was penalised, not for my driving style, which was scored rather well, but because I chose to drive motorway miles late at night. My reasoning is that there are fewer idiots on the roads at that time, but they were all "Ooh, you might get tired"

I wonder if black boxes would be sensitive enough to be able to determine when a driver is tired. I guess tiredness would result in more swerving as the driver drifts out of lane, suddenly realises and corrects.

It doesn't make much sense to penalise drivers using black boxes compared to those without as they don't know if the other drivers are doing lots of night-time motorway driving. Presumably, night-time motorway driving is associated with a higher chance of a collision.

Avatar
brooksby | 8 months ago
3 likes

Quote:

a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. MacAdam also disqualified him from driving for two years, ordered him to carry out 20 rehabilitation activity days, and pay £250 in prosecution costs.

surprise

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