A drug driver who crashed into a group of cyclists in South Wales, causing two of them life-changing injuries, has been jailed for two years and eight months after pleading guilty to two counts of causing serious injury through dangerous driving.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that Jason Morgan, aged 48 and from Merthyr Tydfil, was more than three times over the limit for drug-driving when he hit the four riders head-on near Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley on 20 April 2019, reports the South Wales Argus.
He passed a breath test for alcohol but after police officers noticed that he appeared “very drowsy in demeanour and speech,” a sample showed he had 812mg of amphetamine in his blood, against a legal limit of 250mg.
When interviewed by police, he claimed that the sun had been in his eyes and said: “I didn’t see them. It was a 50-50 accident.”
One of the cyclists, Darran Thomas, spent five days in intensive care after sustaining injuries including a punctured lung, fractured tibia, sternum, ribs and leg.
He was unable to walk for five months after the crash and needed muscle and skin grafts as well as a blood transfusion.
In a victim impact statement, he said: “This has completely changed my life. At 54, I was fit and active but that has been robbed from me.
“I don’t think I will be the same person again. I should be enjoying myself in these years of my life but I am unable to.”
Another of the riders, Huw Smith, needed an operation for facial injuries including “dental trauma” which incurred costs of £40,000 and was left without feeling in one of his fingers.
David Myhill sustained a wounded knee, while Christopher Jones was left with swelling on the brain.
Peter Donnison, prosecuting, said: “Mr Thomas was the lead cyclist and he could hear the revving of a car and then could see it travelling towards him.
“The driver made no attempt to stop and kept driving towards them. Mr Thomas thought that the driver might not like cyclists and was trying to scare them.
“His right leg collided with the car’s bumper and he heard his leg and bike snap. He was somersaulted through the air and lost consciousness for a few seconds.
“He was struggling to breath because he was in so much pain.”
In mitigation, Lucy Crowther, representing Morgan, told the court: “The defendant is desperately sorry. It is something that has caused him terrible upset. He can’t make it better. He apologises wholeheartedly.”
Sentencing Morgan, Judge Nicola Jones told him: “Mr Thomas is now a changed man. He was a fit and hard-working 54-year-old but that has been taken away from him by you. He has been devastated.
“You had a significant amount of amphetamine in your blood. You should not have been driving at all that day.”
Besides imposing a custodial sentence Morgan, who also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drug-driving and had a previous conviction for drink-driving, was banned from driving for four years and four months.
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.