A VEHICLE fitter whose careless driving led to the death of a cyclist near Crumlin was jailed for a year at Cardiff Crown Court today.
Ebbw Vale man Michael Bisi, 60, clipped grandfather-of-two Paul Jones, also 60, as he drove his Mercedes uphill into bright sunlight on the A472 Hafodyrynys Road on August 12 last year.
Mr Jones, from Markham, fell from his mountain bike and died of blunt force injuries to the chest after he was subsequently hit by a Honda Civic travelling behind Bisi.
After the accident, both drivers stopped to check on the cyclist but after around 15 minutes Bisi, of Western Terrace, drove to work leaving only a piece of paper with his name spelled incorrectly and a phone number with a digit missing.
When police tracked him down that evening he initially said he didn’t think he had hit the cyclist but later admitted he could have clipped him, as seen from marks in the dust on his car.
He had told a witness at the scene, “I think I clipped him”, the court heard.
Both men were on their way to work on the 200-metre straight stretch of road at just after 7.20 in the morning.
Prosecutor Ian Kolvin said that Bisi’s car would have failed an MOT as it had faults with the lights and tyres as well as a screenwash reservoir that was empty.
Jeffrey Jones, mitigating, said Bisi had been blinded by the sun for around ten seconds which meant he could not properly see the cyclist. He added there was no suggestion Bisi had been speeding on the 60mph road and described the “remorse” his client felt.
Bisi, who has previously been fined for using his phone while driving and driving with defective tyres, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.
Recorder Eleri Rees sentenced the defendant, saying: “Your decision to leave the scene is hard to understand. Regrettably, the impression given to the deceased’s family is that you were fleeing the scene and showed callous disregard for his welfare.
“You made no attempt to contact the police yourself.”
“The family have been devastated by the death. No sentence will serve to reconcile them to this loss or adequately reflect their grief and anger.
“This was a serious failure to adjust to a natural, not uncommon, hazard of low sun. Given the width of the road, it is hard to understand why you failed to give Mr Jones a wide berth.
“You did stop, but then left without giving adequate details of your identity.
“Previous convictions for driving offences all point to a general disregard for road safety.”
Bisi’s family wept after the sentence was recorded. He was jailed for 12 months, disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.
Bisi just left my husband to die, says widow
ANGELA Jones, Mr Jones’ widow, spoke of being condemned to a “life sentence” without her soulmate.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said: “There are no words which can fully describe how much Paul meant to me. Paul was and still is the most amazing person I know, with not a bad word to say about anyone.”
Describing him as “the most trustworthy, down to earth man you could hope to meet”, she said he was very fit and had never even taken a day’s sick leave from work.
Mrs Jones said: “I haven’t been attending court because I’m finding it extremely difficult coming to terms with Paul’s death.”
She spoke of her turmoil every time she had to drive on the “clear road” where her husband died. “He hit my husband from behind and left my husband to die. Our lives are changed forever,” she said.
Mr Jones left behind a son, Paul, and two grandsons Joshua and Samuel.
“Our son has lost not just a father, but a friend”, Mrs Jones said, adding her husband had taught his grandchildren to enjoy the simple things in life such as swimming, recycling and walks on the mountain.
The court heard how much she missed hearing his voice, missed him wishing her a ‘Merry Christmas’ and just being at home with him.
“I would have preferred this case to go to a full trial so everyone could hear what Michael Bisi did,” she said. “My own life sentence living without Paul has only just begun.”
His son Paul Jones described his father as a “wonderful man”. He said in his statement: “But for the police, this man would not have been brought to justice.”