A road rage driver who punched a cyclist into traffic was today jailed for two years.
Darren Hefferman, 38, swung his car out to overtake Gareth Marshall’s bike – but then stopped when the cyclist shouted in anger at his swerve.
As the car passed, the passenger window was open and Mr Marshall called out: ‘Give me a bit more room, mate’.
A court heard Hefferman then punched Mr Marshall, 43, from his bike into the path of an oncoming van.
Mr Marshall was left with a broken collar bone, broken ribs, a damaged lung, shattered pelvis and dislocated hip.
Newport Crown Court heard the attack happened on Beaufort Hill in Ebbw Vale, Gwent, in January.
Hefferman, of Ebbw Vale, Gwent, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and was today sentenced to two years behind bars.
Stephen Donoghue, prosecuting, said: ‘In summary this was an offence of road rage whether the defendant ended up punching or pushing the victim causing catastrophic and life-changing injuries.’
The court heard the incident took place on the afternoon of January 11 this year on Beaufort Hill road in Blaenau Gwent when Hefferman drove up behind Mr Marshall and attempted to pass him.
‘Mr Marshall noticed that the engine of a car was revving behind him, trying to overtake him and prevented from doing so as there is oncoming traffic,’ the prosecutor said.
‘Eventually they did go past. As the car passed, the passenger window was open and Mr Marshall said ‘Give me a bit more room, mate’ because he had gone quite close.
‘Whether it was that or some other reason, the defendant became angry.
‘Not very far up the road the defendant stopped his car and when Mr Marshall went past the defendant punched him to the head or pushed him, in any event attacked him, and causing him to come off his bike and fall into the carriageway of the oncoming traffic.’
Mr Marshall, who was wearing a cycle helmet, hit the bonnet of the Ford transit van and went under the wheels.
Meanwhile, Hefferman remained at the scene and told police: ‘I done it.’
Jenny Yeo, defending, said that going to prison would be hard for Hefferman’s family because he helps care for his sick mother and sister.
‘He accepts responsibility and he tried to speak to Mr Marshall and his frustration led to the push, which led to devastating consequences but there was no intention to cause the injuries that were caused,’ she said.
Jailing him for two years on Friday, Judge Richard Williams said: ‘Mr Marshall was concerned about how close you passed and called out that you should make more room for cyclists.
‘You took exception to this and decided to do something about this. You pulled into the side of the road and waited for Mr Marshall and as he rode by you pushed him off his bike.
‘Your behaviour was arrogant, stupid and dangerous and it shows a total lack of self-control.
‘Mr Marshall suffered catastrophic injuries from what you did and will have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of his life.
‘This incident arose because of your total lack of ability to control your temper and the consequences for Mr Marshall will be life-long.
‘Confrontations between road users of this kind must be deterred and when they happen they must be dealt with severely.’
Speaking afterwards Mr Marshall, who runs his own newsagent business in Ebbw Vale, said: ‘I am pleased he has gone to prison but will it teach him a lesson? I doubt it very much.
‘He knew what he was doing. To say it was a push is a joke and to say I abused his wife is total nonsense.
‘He would say things like that because he didn’t want to go to prison.’
Mr Marshall, who is married to Rebecca, added: ‘I am disappointed with the sentence he received and would have liked him to receive longer as a deterrent.
‘If I wasn’t so fit, I would have died. I appreciate life a lot more.’