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Two years in prison for drunk driver who left cyclist with horrific injuries

Victim sustained life-changing injuries including multiple fractures to his skull in crash in April

A ​drunk driver who crashed into a cyclist in Surrey, leaving him with horrific injuries, has been jailed for two years after being convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while over the legal limit for alcohol.

Seth Wheeler, aged 50 and from Dorking, was also banned from driving for four years when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court last Friday, and will have to take an extended retest should he wish to regain his licence once the ban finishes.

Surrey Police said that on 24 April this year, officers discovered the cyclist who lay injured after he had been hit by Wheeler in Blackbrook Road, Dorking.

Evidence at the scene as well as eyewitness accounts revealed that Wheeler had crashed into the victim from behind and left him seriously injured by the roadside.

The cyclist sustained what were described as “significant and life-changing injuries,” which included multiple fractures of his skull, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

He was initially treated at East Surrey Hospital before being transferred to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London as is now at home but, almost eight months on, is still recovering from his injuries.

Police said that due to the help of members of the public as well as officers attending the scene, Wheeler was arrested and discovered to be over the limit for alcohol.

They said that his vehicle had been seriously damaged prior to the crash, which meant that it was in a dangerous condition at the time of the collision with the cyclist.

The investigation was led by PC Nick Swann of Surrey Police’s Roads Policing Unit, who said: “While Wheeler is now in prison, nothing will make up for the impact of the serious injuries he inflicted on Mr Burchett has had.

“Wheeler’s actions have resulted in life-changing injuries to a hard-working and honest family man, and his recovery will continue for many years.

“Driving after consuming alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated in Surrey, and officers will always take a proactive approach to arresting offenders and putting them before the court,” he continued.

“I would like to thank the quick and decisive actions of the first responders and members of the public at the scene of the incident, along with all that have played their part in ensuring Wheeler was brought to justice for his reprehensible behaviour,” PC Swann added.

Simon joined road.cc 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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7 comments

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
3 likes

Real justice would be something like the ban lasting for at least as long as it takes the victim to recover fully, or maybe twice as long, and if they don't recover fully, so be it.

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Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
7 likes

Nowhere near enough.

When is this counry going to get serious about car drivers who maim other road users?

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Hirsute | 2 years ago
11 likes

2 years for dangerous driving, drunk, failing to stop and putting someone in hosptial with significant and life-changing injuries?

What a joke.

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carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
4 likes

Don't get why the ban isn't longer really, 2 years is the mandatory minimum. Why not more?

Avatar
Gimpl replied to carlosdsanchez | 2 years ago
0 likes

I was thinking about this earlier. It's come up before about banning for life etc. 

I agree with the sentiment - why not just ban them forever? For an offender though what would be the point of adhering to the ban at all? Even 4 years as in this case. If there is no possibility of them ever being able to drive again then they may just think 'fuck it, I may as well drive anyway, right now'. Of course there is always the possibilty they will be caught by plod.............

Avatar
brooksby replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
4 likes
Gimpl wrote:

I was thinking about this earlier. It's come up before about banning for life etc. 

I agree with the sentiment - why not just ban them forever? For an offender though what would be the point of adhering to the ban at all? Even 4 years as in this case. If there is no possibility of them ever being able to drive again then they may just think 'fuck it, I may as well drive anyway, right now'. Of course there is always the possibilty they will be caught by plod.............

This bloke will get caught driving again even before his ban expires: I would lay money on it (if I had any spare money...).

Avatar
EK Spinner replied to Gimpl | 2 years ago
9 likes
Gimpl wrote:

I was thinking about this earlier. It's come up before about banning for life etc. 

I agree with the sentiment - why not just ban them forever? For an offender though what would be the point of adhering to the ban at all? Even 4 years as in this case. If there is no possibility of them ever being able to drive again then they may just think 'fuck it, I may as well drive anyway, right now'. Of course there is always the possibilty they will be caught by plod.............

 

I have suggested before that the ban should be treated like a suspended sentence condition, breaching the ban should AUTOMATICALLY (no judges opinion etc) result in a jail sentence of equivalent length to the original ban (not the remainder). The law should be permitted to make the assumption that the driver has treated the courts sentence with contempt and has driven since the ban was imposed, only being caught when the were. Society should be free of thier poor driving for the prescribed time and the only way to ensure that is the case is to lock them up.

If this were the case then driving while disqualified for life therefore means they risk being locked up for life....

Maybe I am being a little draconian, but in my simple black and white world it doesn't seem like a bad idea

 

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