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Drink driver who sped through red light and left teenage cyclist with life-changing injuries, before letting wife take the blame, jailed for two years and ten months

Jerzy Jozefiak, who was driving at 48mph in a 30mph zone when he struck the 16-year-old, will serve only half of his sentence in prison

A drunk driver who ran a red light at a busy junction while speeding, hitting a 16-year-old cyclist and leaving them with “catastrophic” life-changing injuries, before initially letting his wife take the blame for the collision, has been jailed for two years and ten months – only half of which he will serve in prison.

The teenage cyclist was crossing the carriageway at a set of traffic lights in Swansea on 9 July 2022 when he was struck by motorist Jerzy Jozefiak. The youngster, who struck the car’s windscreen before coming to rest 20 yards away, suffered serious neurological and physical injuries in the collision, and spent the following eight months in hospital undergoing multiple operations, including one which involved the removal of a piece of his skull, Wales Online reports.

After hitting the young cyclist, Jozefiak – who was driving at up to 18mph over the speed limit and over the legal drink driving limit at the time of the crash – quickly swapped seats with his wife, who originally claimed to police that she had been the one driving.

The 39-year-old, who later admitted to police that he had been behind the wheel at the time of the collision, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Following a one-third “discount” for his guilty plea, Jozefiak was this week sentenced to two years and ten months in prison. However, he will only serve up to half of that period in custody, before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. He was also disqualified from driving for two years, a ban which will come into effect following the end of his spell in custody.

Junction of Fabian Way and Port Tennant Road, Swansea

Swansea Crown Court heard this week that the collision took place at the junction of Fabian Way and Port Tennant Road, Swansea, at around 2.30pm on 9 July last year. Prosecutor Sian Cutter said that the 16-year-old was crossing at the set of traffic lights when he was struck by the speeding Jozefiak, with several eyewitnesses reporting that the lights were showing red when the motorist drove through them.

Following the crash, Jozefiak stopped at a nearby bus stop and exited the vehicle, as his wife climbed across into the driver’s seat. The court heard that she then got out of the car, and told passers-by that she had been driving.

Other motorists, including an off-duty paramedic, rushed to help the stricken cyclist, who was unconscious and bleeding profusely, and had a “partially amputated” arm and several other wounds.

As emergency services arrived on the scene, the boy’s father was alerted to the incident by a school friend who had been crossing the road just ahead of the 16-year-old when the collision took place.

> Hit-and-run driver admits being high and drunk before leaving cyclist with severed foot in "unforgivable and incomprehensible" collision

Miss Cutter told the court that Jozefiak’s wife told police officers at the scene that she had been driving, prompting her arrest. However, Jozefiak failed a roadside breath test and was also arrested. A subsequent evidential test at the police station revealed he had 47mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, over the legal limit of 35mg.

After initially answering “no comment” to every question in his first interview, Jozefiak finally admitted during a second interrogation that he had been driving, but claimed that he had only been drinking alcohol the night before the collision and that he did not believe that he would still be over the limit.

A forensic crash examiner later concluded that Jozefiak had been driving at between 46 and 48mph at the time of the collision, which took place within a 30mph zone, and that there was no evidence of any braking.

The investigator concluded that the crash had been caused by excessive speed, the influence of alcohol, and the motorist’s failure to react to what was in front of him on the road.

Huw Davies, defending Jozefiak, said that the motorist – who has a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol related to the same incident – and his wife “feel terrible” about the collision, and had been “reduced to tears”. He said the 39-year-old takes full responsibility for his actions and accepts he had been “extremely foolish” in allowing his wife to initially take the blame.

> Drink driver who “ploughed through cyclist” at 60mph before giving police “cock and bull story” jailed for 14 months

Judge Catherine Richards argued that there was no reason for the defendant not to have stopped at the traffic lights, telling him that he had caused the young cyclist life-changing injuries.

The court heard that the 16-year-old has suffered “significant soft tissue damage” to his right arm in the crash, along with fractures to his skull and facial bones, a broken collarbone, and bleeding on the brain. He underwent several operations to repair the nerve damage to his arm, and had surgery to remove part of his skull to relieve the pressure that was building up.

A report by a specialist brain injury nurse, detailed in court, highlighted the “cognitive limitations” and physical issues still being experienced by the teenager, including problems with speech, balance, and very limited movement in his right arm. The nurse concluded that the youngster sustained “life-changing injuries” in the crash which will require “years of rehabilitation”, and that he will need “an element of support” for the rest of his life.

In a statement to the court, the boy’s father said his son was a talented artist who loved cycling, going to the gym, playing video games, and spending time with his friends. The father added that his son had been left feeling “very isolated and down” following the crash, and that he is “frustrated” about his lengthy recovery period, feeling that he is being held back by something that was not his fault while his friends can get on with their lives.

The father also noted that the family want the driver to understand the impact of what he has done, and to know that they feel he showed the injured cyclist “no respect” by lying to officers about who had been driving.

Judge Richards described the 16-year-old as a “talented and determined young man” who had shown “exceptional resilience” in the face of the challenges he had faced, before adding that no length of sentence imposed on the driver could ease the pain and suffering experienced by him and his family.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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37 comments

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 3 months ago
1 like

Just stop oil protesters just given very similar jail sentences, one got more than this guy, for ...... climbimg a bridge.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/20/just-stop-oil-protes...

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chrisonabike replied to Bungle_52 | 3 months ago
1 like

Ah, but he didn't mean it!  Just your everyday drunk driver, who unfortunately caused a tragic accident - just bad luck they hit someone.  And they felt terrible about it afterwards.  Well, after they realised that their efforts to get away with it had failed.  OK, just before it went to trial anyway, and because we don't want perverse incentives we give you a hefty discount in sentencing if - like a dying sinner - you repent at the last moment.

The real badness here is the tiny driving ban, and the fact that should he choose to ignore that very likely it would not be detected, and even if so likely little would come of it.

We may not like it but popular opinion is that "we have to drive" and anything which looks like it calls that "right" into question will generate noise.  Certainly politicians feel that doing anything in this area is a heffalump trap for them to fall into with no gain to themselves.

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eburtthebike | 3 months ago
8 likes

Coincidentally, this just arrived in my in box:

You recently signed the petition “Lifetime driving ban if you are convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.”:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/623592

On Tuesday 7 November, MPs took part in an adjournment debate relating to dangerous driving and the unduly lenient sentence scheme. During the debate MPs discussed sentencing arrangements for the offence of death by dangerous driving.

Watch the debate https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/26966690-4539-43b0-9641-9e4443665c...
Read a transcript of the debate https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-11-07/debates/D86891EC-E966-4...

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bikes replied to eburtthebike | 3 months ago
1 like

I wish that petition (and similar ones) had been publicised on this site. Maybe I missed it?

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wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
5 likes

honestly I would rather see every drink driver get 6 months (and also catching more of them), than those that hit someone get 5 years. Draconian sentances in this case will not deter others because they will be thinking that it won't happen to them.

 

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Rendel Harris replied to wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
8 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

honestly I would rather see every drink driver get 6 months (and also catching more of them), than those that hit someone get 5 years. Draconian sentances in this case will not deter others because they will be thinking that it won't happen to them.

My heart says yes, in practical terms there are 85,000 drink-driving cases in the UK each year and the prison population is 95,000, so it simply wouldn't be feasible, I fear. I'd like to see a mandatory five year ban for a first offence, compulsory life ban for a second offence, and every drink drivers' vehicle confiscated and sold with all profits going into enhanced road safety measures. Lifetime ban for any first offender driving while disqualified, sober or not, prison time for second offenders driving while disqualified.

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EK Spinner replied to Rendel Harris | 3 months ago
7 likes

I would throw in automatic custody for driving while disqualified, for the duration of the original ban.

 

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Cyclo1964 replied to Rendel Harris | 3 months ago
4 likes

The scary thing is that 85000 have been caught but it's highly likely that there is 10's more thousand that are not. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Cyclo1964 | 3 months ago
4 likes
Cyclo1964 wrote:

The scary thing is that 85000 have been caught but it's highly likely that there is 10's more thousand that are not. 

No doubt at all, I would use some of the money raised by selling the vehicles of convicted offenders to increase police random stops, especially near pubs. It's not so bad in London because the transport is so good but when I'm having a drink out in the country I would guess that at least 25% of the people driving home at closing time are close to or over the limit.

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eburtthebike replied to wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

honestly I would rather see every drink driver get 6 months (and also catching more of them), than those that hit someone get 5 years. Draconian sentances in this case will not deter others because they will be thinking that it won't happen to them.

If a penalty for breaking the law is ignored, then it clearly isn't doing its job, to deter.  Therefore it needs to be increased until it does deter.  I would suggest that drink driving be treated by confiscating the car, a month for the first offence, six months for the second, and sold for the third, as well as the current penalties.  Same for dangerous driving.

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hawkinspeter replied to eburtthebike | 3 months ago
7 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
wycombewheeler wrote:

honestly I would rather see every drink driver get 6 months (and also catching more of them), than those that hit someone get 5 years. Draconian sentances in this case will not deter others because they will be thinking that it won't happen to them.

If a penalty for breaking the law is ignored, then it clearly isn't doing its job, to deter.  Therefore it needs to be increased until it does deter.  I would suggest that drink driving be treated by confiscating the car, a month for the first offence, six months for the second, and sold for the third, as well as the current penalties.  Same for dangerous driving.

Increased penalties rarely work unless people think they have a realistic chance of getting caught. We need to step up the War on the Motorist traffic policing although that seems unlikely with Tories in government.

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lonpfrb replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

Increased penalties rarely work unless people think they have a realistic chance of getting caught. We need to step up the War on the Motorist traffic policing although that seems unlikely with Tories in government.

Write to your Police and Crime Commissioner cc: your MP to point out that road traffic offences are real crime and that the Police Traffic Division were a world class answer to it.. 

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Seagull2 | 3 months ago
4 likes

i cannot even begin to comprehend how such a crime can receive such a light punishment ?? The actions including the speed, the alcohol level, the breaking of a red light, the attempt to pervert the course of justice, the severe and life-long injuries to the victim, the paltry prison sentence, the paltry driving ban.  WTAF !!!

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Benthic | 3 months ago
5 likes

If that behaviour results in a paltry two-year ban from driving, what does it take to get a five-year, ten-year, or lifetime ban?

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bikes replied to Benthic | 3 months ago
3 likes

Not forgetting he's been caught drink driving twice (how many other times did he do it without getting caught?). It's incredible to me that we are so keen to keep people driving no matter what they do. Is there such a thing as a lifetime ban in the UK?

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Rendel Harris replied to bikes | 3 months ago
0 likes
bikes wrote:

Not forgetting he's been caught drink driving twice (how many other times did he do it without getting caught?). It's incredible to me that we are so keen to keep people driving no matter what they do. Is there such a thing as a lifetime ban in the UK?

Not in any way defending him and I would love to see a lifetime driving ban for two DD offences (along with at least five years for first offence) but it does say "[he] has a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol related to the same incident", so it's all part of the same thing, he obviously pleaded guilty to the drink driving charge without taking it to court but the dangerous driving charge had to go to court for sentencing.

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tootsie323 | 3 months ago
7 likes

"... no length of sentence imposed on the driver could ease the pain and suffering experienced by [the victim] and his family."

No - but a decent sentence may be a sufficient deterrent to prevent future pain and suffering for potential victims.

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RobD | 3 months ago
6 likes

Shouldn't the driving ban be in place until doctors sign off on the teenager's injuries being fully healed? In cases like this where they likely never will, surely he should never be allowed to drive again, especially with a previous conviction, showing that he lacks the ability to learn from previous mistakes.

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Rendel Harris | 3 months ago
12 likes

No word here or in the linked report for any punishment for the wife? Chris and Vicky Huhne both got eight month prison sentences when she accepted speeding points incurred when he was driving, so it seems surprising that this woman appears to have escaped with no sanction for lying in such a serious case.

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dubwise | 3 months ago
7 likes

Has Matthew Briggs been asked for a comment?

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Bungle_52 | 3 months ago
4 likes

Coincidentally I recieved three emails this morning in response to three government petitions I signed calling for tougher sentences. Here is the link if anyone is interested.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-11-07/debates/D86891EC-E966-4...

Three petitions one short debate if I have understood it correctly.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 months ago
3 likes

That is terrible - just one year in stir for causing the young person's well being to be so adversely changed. And he was drunk, and he knew it. That should be a long decade sitting in prison regretting he took that drink and decided to speed in a vehicle. 

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OldRidgeback | 3 months ago
6 likes

This is an appalling case. I feel really sorry for the teenager who has had his life and future prospects smashed apart by a drunken liar, who was lest we forget a repeat driving offender. I can only hope the teenager can recover fully in time. As for the sentence, while it's true that no sentence can repair the damage, it's extremely light and that does send the wrong message about cycling safety. That the driver changed seats with his partner and claimed she'd been driving means his judgement is so poor that only a much longer ban, say 10 years, would be appropriate. I don't believe his crocodile tears over the incident for a minute.

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chrisonabike replied to OldRidgeback | 3 months ago
3 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:

That the driver changed seats with his partner and claimed she'd been driving means his judgement is so poor that only a much longer ban, say 10 years, would be appropriate.

Yeah, repugnant.  Behaving like an MP (only not getting away with it)...

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SimoninSpalding replied to OldRidgeback | 3 months ago
4 likes

I read the previous conviction as being for the same incident

"who has a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol related to the same incident"

Which would suggest that initially he was just done for drink driving through the magistrates. This could either be because initially they weren't going to charge him with anything else or because they realised he was a $h!t and they could secure a driving ban more quickly than tying it in with the more serious charge.

Either way giving initial statements to the police that were untrue, surely constitutes attempting to pervert the course of justice, or at least wasting police time, and in the case of the wife assisting an offender??

I wish I was shocked by the lenient sentence, but sadly I am not.

I hope the victim makes the best recovery possible, and can find a way to move on from this, but I am not sure that I could in their position.

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Bungle_52 | 3 months ago
10 likes

"before adding that no length of sentence imposed on the driver could ease the pain and suffering experienced by him and his family."

I wonder if she asked them or just assumed this. In any case easing the pain and suffering isn't the only reason for punishment, deterrence is another one and this will do nothing for that either. The prison sentence doesn't worry me too much, especially considering there is no space, but a lifetime ban may ease the pain, would act as a  deterrent and would prevent this driver doing this yet again.

I am extremely annoyed writing this so I hope I managed to make a coherent argument

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Morgoth985 replied to Bungle_52 | 3 months ago
9 likes

I am sick of hearing this "sentence can't bring them back" bollocks.  That is not the purpose of the criminal law. We all, as members of society, have a stake in this.  The whole idea is to take the case out of the hands of the victim, so it's not retributive, and bring it on behalf of society for the good of all.  If I know this why the hell don't the judges?

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Flintshire Boy | 3 months ago
3 likes

.

WTAF? This is beyond a joke.

.

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mitsky | 3 months ago
10 likes

1) Surely the judge should explain why such an unduly lenient sentence has been imposed?
2) Particularly in light of previous identical offending for which the criminal has not learnt it's lesson (penalty not harsh enough the first time?).
3) If the injuries/situation had involved any other tool/weapon than a car the resulting sentence would surely have been higher.
Why the much lower penalty in this case?
4) A further example of a case where the criminal's behavious (multiple actions) indicate a complete lack of remorse or consideration of others should result in it losing it's taste buds and libido.

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mctrials23 replied to mitsky | 3 months ago
5 likes

Did you not see the bit where he was reduced to tears. I would have taken another 6 months off the sentence for the emotional distress this utter cunt has had to endure. 

 

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