A drink driver who hit a cyclist in a head-on collision, fled the scene, then struggled with and swore at emergency officers when they stopped her, and later kicked at two police officers, has avoided going to jail, but has been handed a three-year driving ban.
Louise Baker was driving her Nissan Micra on the A472 in Ystrad Mynach, just a few miles north of Caerphilly in August last year when she steered the vehicle into the path of the oncoming cyclist Hugh Daniels, and then proceeded to flee the scene.
The cyclist received burns to his right thigh, right forearm and knee going down to the shin, she also swore at him.
Shortly after the incident, Baker was stopped by emergency workers where she "struggled with them, was slurring her words and shouting abuse at them". A bottle of alcohol was also found in her car.
Upon arriving at the police station Baker argued with officers and assaulted an officer by kicking out at them. South Wales Argus reported that Newport Crown Court was shown a video of the incident and during the checking-in process at the police station, she once again assaulted another officer by kicking them in the thigh.
It was also revealed that Baker was a recovering alcoholic, and the judge heard that she was highly intoxicated at the time of the collision. The judge said: "You steered into the cyclist’s path, left him on the floor and for all you known he could have been dead."
The 47-year-old from Bristol was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm for hitting the cyclist, assault by beating an emergency worker and driving dangerously. She pleaded guilty to all the charges.
Baker was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. She was also required to abstain from alcohol for 90 days and was fitted with an electronic tag which will monitor her adherence to this. She must also complete an 18-month community order, and attend a 20-day rehabilitation programme.
She was also asked to pay £2,000 compensation to the cyclist and banned from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle for three years. The judge added that if Baker was "foolish enough to come before him again she will be put into custody."
In August this year, a drink driver who ploughed through a cyclist from behind at 60mph while at least 75 per cent over the legal drink drive limit, and then went on to give the police a "cock and bull story" by telling them that she had no knowledge of the collision, was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for 37 months.
In the past, however, there have been some instances that drivers have managed to escape imprisonment despite being under the influence of alcohol and even drugs.
Last month, we reported that an "arrogant" motorist who killed a cyclist while speeding at up to 51mph in a 30mph zone, and who was found to have traces of ketamine, cocaine, and alcohol in his system at the time of the fatal collision, got away with a suspended prison sentence and a three-year driving ban, after a prosecutor described his standard of driving as "just below" the threshold for dangerous driving.
And just a few days before that, a driver who deliberately rammed a cyclist following an argument about a close pass was once again given a suspended sentence for dangerous driving and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The driver rammed into the cyclist, launching him into the air and causing a heavy impact to his spine as he landed on the kerb and hit his head on the road. The driver, who it is reported has a previous conviction for dangerous driving from 2007, admitted ramming the cyclist when she phoned Leicestershire Police from the scene.
The victim thought he had broken his spine, such was the collision force, and described the incident as "like a hate attack" against cyclists, explaining that his bike worth £8,000 is unusable due to the damage and he "almost had a panic attack" when he tried to ride again post-recovery.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.