An angry motorist who pushed a cyclist into the path of oncoming traffic has been jailed for two years.
A row broke out after Darren Hefferman, 37, overtook Gareth Marshall, 43, prompting Mr Marshall to ask the motorist to give him more room.
Hefferman stopped his car further up the road and waited for Mr Marshall before pushing him off his $4,000 bike into the path of oncoming traffic.
Newport Crown Court heard Mr Marshall, who hit his head on the bonnet of a van and was trapped under the wheels, was left with catastrophic injuries including a broken left collar bone, two fractures to his left shoulder, six or seven broken ribs, a damaged lung, a shattered pelvis, a dislocated right hip, a major burn to his lower back and three fractured vertebrae in his back.
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.”
He said the incident took place on January 11 this year on Beaufort Hill road in Blaenau Gwent when Hefferman drove up behind Mr Marshall and tried 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.”
The prosecutor told the court that Hefferman stopped his car further up the road and when Mr Marshall went pass either “punched him to the head of pushed him”, making him fall off his bike into the path of oncoming traffic, hitting the bonnet of a Ford transit van before going under the wheels.
Hefferman remained at the scene and told police: “I done it”, the court heard.
He denied punching the cyclist and claimed he had sworn at his wife, who was a passenger in the car, and that made him angry.
Mr Marshall was initially left confined to a wheelchair after undergoing three operations, including one to his spine that lasted 10-and-a-half-hours, but has since been able to walk again and has also returned to cycling.
Hefferman, of Cooperative Terrace, Nantyglo, Ebbw Vale, had pleaded guilty previously to a charge of wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent.
Jenny Yeo, defending, said that going to prison would be hard for the defendant’s family because he helps care for his sick mother and sister.
She said he had accepted responsibility but had no intention to cause the injuries that the incident had led to.
Jailing Hefferman for two years, Judge Richard Williams said: “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.”