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“Sorry, wrong person” – Jail for driver who “used car as weapon” to knock cyclist from bike

Suspected case of mistaken identity in incident that left victim seriously injured

A motorist who used his car “as a weapon” when he  drove onto a pavement to knock a cyclist from his bike and allegedly said, “Sorry, wrong person” afterwards has been jailed for 13 months after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The male victim, who was not named, was knocked unconscious in the crash in Bishop Auckland on 20th August last year, only coming round in hospital the following day reports the Northern Echo.

He also sustained injuries to his right shoulder and leg as well as a fractured cheekbone, scarring above his right eye and a severe laceration to the right side of his face.

Durham Crown Court heard that the cyclist turned round when he heard Jason Brunskill, who was driving a Subaru Forester, revving his engine behind him, but did not recognise the driver.

Prosecutor Anthony Pettengell told the court that Brunskill – whom he said “drove into someone deliberately, using the car as a weapon” – came back to the scene approximately 50 seconds later.

The cyclist was already being tended to by members of the public, and one witness heard someone say, “Sorry, wrong person.”

Brunskill, aged 25 and from Bishop Auckland, who denied that he had made the remark, got back in his car and drove off.

He was later traced by police through his vehicle registration, which was captured on CCTV, and admitted he was the driver, but said he had turned around to go back home to get his bank card, which he claimed he had forgotten.

In mitigation, Shaun Dryden told the court that Brunskill, who had no prior convictions, was “a hard-working family man, who has always in employment, with no criminal history,

“For someone like this to find themselves in this type of incident is really weird,” he added, describing the incident as “15 seconds of madness.”

When Judge James Adkin put it to Dryden that his client “Must have some reason in the background for him to hurt this individual, unless it was mistaken identity,” the defending barrister replied, “Why he did it remains a mystery.”

Sentencing Brunskill, and also banning him for driving for two years, the judge said: “This is an odd case as to your motivation for attacking a complete stranger, an entirely innocent other road user.

“What we are dealing with here is what appears to be some form of opaque or mistaken identity and the sentence has to be immediate,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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