A driver who was fiddling with an app on his mobile phone when he ran over a cyclist, causing him serious injuries, threw his phone away immediately after the crash in a bid to hide evidence, a court has heard.
The cyclist, Edward Taylor, sustained a fractured pelvis, right elbow and left wrist and four broken ribs when Geraint Coombes hit him in his Land Rover Discovery Sport on the A469 at Llanbradach on 3 August last year, reports the South Wales Argus.
Coombes, aged 32 and from Caerphilly, initially told police he had left his phone at home but subsequently admitted that he had disposed of the device, saying: “I was changing a song on Spotify and I threw my phone into bushes. I only did this because I panicked.”
He admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and to perverting the course of justice.
Emma Harris, prosecuting, told the court that as well as getting rid of the mobile phone, Coomebes also tried to blame Mr Taylor for causing the crash.
She also read out a victim impact statement from Mr Taylor, who had to spend 11 days in hospital due to his injuries, in which he said: “At the time, my wife was suffering from cancer and I was her main carer.
“This has put a massive strain on my family. My wife’s mother had to come and look after Ruth and our children.
“A cancer charity had paid for us to go on holiday at Butlin’s but we had to cancel it.
“Had this incident not occurred the care for my wife could have been better in her last few months.”
In mitigation, Ed Mitchard said: “The defendant fully accepts responsibility for causing serious injury to Mr Taylor.
“The act of perverting the course of justice was impulsive and it took place seconds after the collision when he was in hysterics.
“When challenged by the police, he came clean with them and took them to where the mobile phone was.”
But sentencing Coombes to 27 months’ imprisonment, Judge Richard Williams said: “You made a most difficult situation infinitely worse for Mr Taylor. His wife had terminal cancer.
“He and his family had been to due to go on holiday shortly after this incident but that had to be cancelled.
“Mr Taylor was also unable to devote himself to look after her in her final months as he and she would have wished.
“You jettisoned your smartphone and persisted with the fiction that you didn’t have a phone on you.
“The police dealt promptly and efficiently with the investigation. They had rumbled the lie you had told them.”
Coombes was also banned from driving for three years, one month and 15 days.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.