Case Study

Driver jailed for 11 months after seriously injuring cyclist

Incident date: 
Wed, 6 Feb 2013

A driver who caused “catastrophic” injuries to a West Midlands cyclist has been jailed for 11 months for dangerous driving.

Richard Bennett, aged 42, a prison officer at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, was riding through Smethwick on his way home from work in February last year when he was hit by a car driven by Matthew Hollingshead from Handsworth.

The impact left Mr Bennett with a broken back in three places, a dislocated hip, fractured nose, broken teeth and deep tissue damage and also shattered his right shoulder.

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that Hollingshead, who is unemployed and pleaded guilty to the charge against him, had lost control of his Audi A3 on the damp road. The vehicle hit a kerb and a wall before hitting the victim.

Shortly beforehand, an off-duty police officer believed he had seen the vehicle racing and decided to follow it, but came across the cyclist in the gutter, having been thrown some distance from his bike.

The defendant admitted that he had failed to check his tyres – one was bald with the others having little tread – but he insisted that he was not speeding or racing prior to the collision.

Sentencing him, recorder Kevin Hegarty QC said: “You drove a car at speed on a damp surface whereby you lost control because of the state of your tyres.

“You struck the kerb, a wall and wrecked Mr Bennett who suffered multiple fractures. The harm you caused was catastrophic for him.”

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