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Jail for South Wales drug driver who crashed into group of cyclists

Two of the riders suffered life-changing injuries when Jason Morgan hit the group of four head-on last year

A drug driver who crashed into a group of cyclists in South Wales, causing two of them life-changing injuries, has been jailed for two years and eight months after pleading guilty to two counts of causing serious injury through dangerous driving.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Jason Morgan, aged 48 and from Merthyr Tydfil, was more than three times over the limit for drug-driving when he hit the four riders head-on near Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley on 20 April 2019, reports the South Wales Argus.

He passed a breath test for alcohol but after police officers noticed that he appeared “very drowsy in demeanour and speech,” a sample showed he had 812mg of amphetamine in his blood, against a legal limit of 250mg.

When interviewed by police, he claimed that the sun had been in his eyes and said: “I didn’t see them. It was a 50-50 accident.”

One of the cyclists, Darran Thomas, spent five days in intensive care after sustaining injuries including a punctured lung, fractured tibia, sternum, ribs and leg.

He was unable to walk for five months after the crash and needed muscle and skin grafts as well as a blood transfusion.

In a victim impact statement, he said: “This has completely changed my life. At 54, I was fit and active but that has been robbed from me.

“I don’t think I will be the same person again. I should be enjoying myself in these years of my life but I am unable to.”

Another of the riders, Huw Smith, needed an operation for facial injuries including “dental trauma” which incurred costs of £40,000 and was left without feeling in one of his fingers.

David Myhill sustained a wounded knee, while Christopher Jones was left with swelling on the brain.

Peter Donnison, prosecuting, said: “Mr Thomas was the lead cyclist and he could hear the revving of a car and then could see it travelling towards him.

“The driver made no attempt to stop and kept driving towards them. Mr Thomas thought that the driver might not like cyclists and was trying to scare them.

“His right leg collided with the car’s bumper and he heard his leg and bike snap. He was somersaulted through the air and lost consciousness for a few seconds.

“He was struggling to breath because he was in so much pain.”

In mitigation, Lucy Crowther, representing Morgan, told the court: “The defendant is desperately sorry. It is something that has caused him terrible upset. He can’t make it better. He apologises wholeheartedly.”

Sentencing Morgan, Judge Nicola Jones told him: “Mr Thomas is now a changed man. He was a fit and hard-working 54-year-old but that has been taken away from him by you. He has been devastated.

“You had a significant amount of amphetamine in your blood. You should not have been driving at all that day.”

Besides imposing a custodial sentence Morgan, who also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drug-driving and had a previous conviction for drink-driving, was banned from driving for four years and four months.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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18 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 3 years ago
1 like

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53891104

The BBC article on this one

 

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Bentrider | 3 years ago
1 like

Once again, I have to ask, how the f@(k can there be an acceptable level for driving of an illegal drug?

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ktache replied to Bentrider | 3 years ago
3 likes

If you have handled folding money recently there may be trace amounts of cocaine in your system, when you smell the very distinct wiff of skunk as you ride or walk about, you are imbibing cannabis, a very small amount, but the incredibly accurate tests can pick it up.

And eaten anything with poppy seeds in there, you have opiates in your blood system, enough to fail a drugs test.

Now, I'm all for banning bad drivers, but I think it might be a step too far to be handing bans and fines for those doing any of those purely innocent things.

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wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

We have to hope there is some sense in these 'legal limits'. This was clearly incorrectly reported as it wasn't quoted as '...per litre' or whatever. In any case it appeared to be a very large permissible blood level for a water soluble drug, but a quick check reveals that it's actually 250 micrograms/L which is something like 0.000025% amphetamine by weight (clearly 1L of blood does not weigh 1 kg, as water does). Careless reporters never get micrograms right, because they don't know what the 'mu' symbol μ means.

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Housecathst | 3 years ago
10 likes

"he claimed that the sun had been in his eyes and said: “I didn’t see them."

I'm flabbergasted, he's played two cast iron get out jail free cards right there, sun in the eye & didn't see. 

He needs to get the poophole lawer to do his appeal. 

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wycombewheeler replied to Housecathst | 3 years ago
4 likes

drugs

to be convicted of a driving offence by a jury in this country one of three things must be present.

1) drugs

2) failed a drunk driving test

3) foreign

In almost all other circumstances a jury made up of 50% below average drivers will fail to convict as enough of them will consdier it could happen to them when they are driving perfectly well.

drive round a blind bend on the wrong side of the road and kill a cylist - no problem

hit a stationary cyclist lit up like a christmas tree and clearly there to be seen, could happen to anyone

 

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Biggus-Dickkus | 3 years ago
5 likes

Only 2 years and 8 months! That means he will be out in less than 16 months... When is our justice system going to give out some proper sentencing, like 5 years and no 1/2 term let out for good behaviour...

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EK Spinner | 3 years ago
22 likes

'Morgan, who also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drug-driving and had a previous conviction for drink-driving, was banned from driving for four years and four months'
This is the bit that really pisses me off, he has had a serious warning, has done it again and we are still going to allow him back on the road. He has already shown he has complete contempt for others safety and has no intention to change

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Hirsute replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
14 likes

Yeah but "desperately sorry".
Sorry about what exactly?

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hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
10 likes
hirsute wrote:

Yeah but "desperately sorry". Sorry about what exactly?

Apparently not sorry enough to permanently surrender his license

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David9694 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
4 likes

He probably has "no choice" but to drive. 

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hawkinspeter replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
6 likes

Unfortunately, his victims have no choice but to be injured

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Bishop0151 replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
5 likes
hirsute wrote:

Yeah but "desperately sorry". Sorry about what exactly?

I should imagine that he's desperately sorry that he got caught doing it this time, and has to pay a personal cost of his behaviour. With a previous ban for drink driving, and up to his eyeballs on speed this day, I find it hard to believe that he hasn't done similar dozens of times before. He was probably getting away with it because nothing came of it.

How many close pass videos could be drivers under the influence, and getting away with it, because it doesn't cause an accident that time?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
8 likes

However people who have been caught and STILL do these things would probably do them whether they were licensed or not. 

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EK Spinner replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 3 years ago
12 likes

that is where I would like to see a driving ban being a form of suspended sentence so that breaching it involves an automatic jail sentence the length of the original ban (not just the remainder) , working on the assumption that they have been driving since the ban was imposed. Ignoring a courts instruction is treating the court with contempt after all.

 

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Carior replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
10 likes

I think if you made driving whilst suspended an automatic custodial sentance, criminal record etc that would help.  At present there is simply insufficient social stigma around poor behaviour when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and its not something that needs to be declared to prospective employers.  

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zero_trooper replied to Carior | 3 years ago
1 like

You're quite right about the 'social stigma'. Same goes for speeding. Drink driving used to be socially acceptable, but not nowadays. It still goes on, but there is a stigma attached to it.

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Velophaart_95 replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
4 likes

Only a custodial sentence will stop him from driving. One does wonder how many 'banned' drivers are actually out there driving. Such is their contempt for the law.

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