Rushmere man convicted of careless driving after collision left cyclist fighting for life

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street.

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A 66-year-old man has been found guilty of careless driving after he drove off following a collision that left a cyclist fighting for his life.

David Sarjeant, of The Street, Rushmere St Andrew, denied careless driving, failing to stop after an accident, and failing to report an accident, but was convicted of all three charges after a trial before Ipswich magistrates.

The offences occurred at the Ravenswood roundabout in Nacton Road on June 8 last year.

Prosecutor David Bryant said the collision between Sarjeant’s Honda Civic and Pat Tonkin’s bicycle happened at around 8.30pm.

Sarjeant was said to have entered the roundabout when Mr Tonkin had priority.

After the collision Sarjeant drove off, stopping in a bus stop outside The Thrasher public house to adjust his wing mirror, which had been knocked during the incident, before setting off home.

The court heard witnesses told police they heard car horns sounding and went to help Mr Tonkin.

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Magistrates were told Sarjeant’s defence was there was no negligence on his part and he had not realised there had been a collision.

Mr Bryant said Mr Tonkin had no recollection of the crash. He sustained short-term memory loss and suffered head injuries which resulted in him being treated in intensive care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

In a statement read out in court Mr Tonkin said: “The staff at Addenbrooke’s almost brought me back from death. I have now regained the ability to walk and to talk.”

Magistrates heard one witness who went to Mr Tonkin’s aid said: “I have never seen so much blood.”

An off-duty nurse came to help him. The witness told police: “She said we would need to move him as he was likely to drown in his own blood.”

Giving evidence Sarjeant, who is partially sighted in one eye after a crash around eight years ago, said he did not see anyone when he heard a thump on his car.

He assumed it was a piece of debris or a sign which had been flying through the air.

He insisted he would not have driven off if he had realised what had happened.

Sarjeant is due to be sentenced on April 11 at Ipswich Magistrates.