Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Driver who “used vehicle as weapon” to ram teenagers on bikes jailed

David Hemmings drove onto pavement after youths threw French fries into his car

A driver who used his vehicle “as a weapon” to ram teenage cyclists after French fries from McDonald’s were thrown into his car has been jailed for 27 months and banned from driving for five years.

The Stoke Sentinel reports that David Hemmings, aged 50 and from Burslem, drove his Ford Focus convertible onto the pavement to chase after the teenagers during the incident in Sneyd Green on the afternoon of 7 May 2019.

A member of a group of youths threw the fast food into Hemmings’ car, which had the roof down, and as two of the teenagers began riding away on their bikes, the motorist drove his car at one of them with the incident caught on CCTV.

He knocked both of the teenagers off their bikes, with one of them, a 13 year old, sustaining injuries including a broken collarbone after Hemmings drove into him at speed, before driving away.

Nick Tatlow, prosecuting, told Stoke on Trent Crown Court. “The defendant was driving his Ford Focus Convertible on Berwick Road in the direction of Leek New Road with the top down.

“As he approached the junction he came across a group of boys, some on bikes. They had been to McDonald’s. One of the group threw some chips into the car, no doubt thinking it amusing to do so.

“Hemmings rose to the bait and parked on a grass verge. He got out to remonstrate and he and the boys traded insults.

“Two started to ride away on their bikes. He got back in his car and drove at the group and the boys scattered.

“He drove along the pavement and back into the road and back on the pavement towards one lad sitting on his bike by a wall. He drove into the back of the bike but did not come into contact with the boy.

“He turned the car around and drove away in the direction of another youth on his bike. As the boy pedalled to try and get away Hemmings drove at some speed into the back of the bike, knocking the boy to the ground and causing injuries.

“He continued along the pavement before turning back on to Berwick Road and heading towards Leek New Road. As he passed the boy lying injured he swerved his car towards them.”

Initially, Hemmings claimed to police that bricks had been thrown at his car, although he subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal damage and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

In mitigation Edmund Potts, representing Hemmings, said: “He realises there was no excuse for driving in the way he did,” but claimed that the injuries sustained by the teenager who was hospitalised were not particularly serious.

Sentencing Hemmings, Judge Paul Glenn told him: “You took exception when something, probably chips, were thrown into your convertible car by a group of youths.

“You drove at the group along the pavement, scattering them and damaging one bike. You then pursued another youth. You drove on the pavement at speed and knocked him off his bike. You deliberately used your car as a weapon.

“The boy’s mother speaks of the physical and emotional effect on him. You quite deliberately decided to ignore the rules of the road and drove a significant distance in a busy residential area creating a very dangerous situation even before knocking the child off the bike.

“It is aggravated because you drove off without stopping. You caused serious injury, fortunately not life changing or the most grave physical injury.

“The offence is so serious only immediate custody is appropriate. This was deliberate using your vehicle as a weapon,” the judge added.

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.

Latest Comments