Young cyclist seriously injured after getting trapped under drink-driver’s car
A drink-driver ran over a young boy and trapped him underneath his car before ignoring witnesses – and reversing back over the child.
The victim, 10, was cycling in West Chiltington, West Sussex with his father when he was struck from behind by a Renault Twingo.
Keith Vernon, 76, was at the wheel of the vehicle – which knocked the youngster over his handlebars and into the road.
The motorist then continued to drive over the boy, police say, despite the desperate warnings of horrified onlookers.
Vernon ignored the pleas of the members of the public and reversed over the boy, seriously injuring him and destroying his helmet.
He then fled the scene with the bike still trapped beneath his car, it was said.
Shocking pictures show the mangled remains of the car, the helmet and the bike.
Emergency services raced to the incident, which occurred about 10.20pm on October 6, and the boy was taken to hospital.
He suffered a broken collar bone, a fractured vertebrae, a fractured pelvis, a dislocated hip and a burn covering the left side of his face.
Sussex Police say he is now recovering.
The force attended the address of the registered owner of the Twingo, which was discovered unattended and having mounted a kerb, with the victim’s bike still trapped beneath.
Retired Vernon, of West Chiltington, was then breathalysed and found to have 77mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink-driving and failing to stop after a road traffic collision.
He pleaded guilty to the offences at Worthing magistrates’ court on February 23 and before appearing for sentencing at Hove crown court on May 20.
There he was jailed for two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and was disqualified from driving for four-and-a-half years.
His sentence was reduced for his early guilty plea.
Her Honour Judge Barnes said Vernon deliberately made a conscious decision to drive when drunk.
She did not accept that he had not seen the cyclists, and added that he had a desire to protect himself before anyone else.
The judge said she did not accept that Vernon did not know the child was under his car
She also commented how any father could put himself over a child was beyond belief.
She added that Vernon made the decision to go home, despite stating he was traumatised, and made no attempt to call 999 or return to the scene.
The judge also said there is no blame whatsoever to be put on the cyclists.
Sergeant Richard Hornsey, formerly of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “Vernon was driving home after drinking in a local pub and was over the drink-drive limit when he collided with the cyclist.
“This was clearly a traumatic incident for those directly involved, but it has also affected the wider community.
“Vernon ignored the pleas of the bystanders, which included the child’s father, and they described the wheels of the car spinning as Vernon tried to drive away while the child and the bicycle were trapped underneath.
“The child was wearing a cycle helmet which received significant damage but protected him from a more serious head injury.
“Vernon drove for over a quarter of a mile through the village with the bicycle trapped under his car, but at no point did he stop to check if the cyclist was still underneath, which shows a complete disregard for the safety of other road users.”