Blackwood man found guilty of causing Oakdale cyclist's death

FOUND GUILTY: Andrzej Wojcicki

FOUND GUILTY: Andrzej Wojcicki

First published in News
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A MINIBUS driver who “ploughed” into a cyclist while looking at pictures on his phone was jailed for five years after he was yesterday found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Andrzej Wojcicki, 45, of Conway Court, Blackwood, had been taking photos of vintage cars as he drove along the A472 near Newbridge up to half a mile before the fatal collision with Oakdale cyclist Owain Richard James, 30.

Judge David Wynn Morgan said after the verdict that he was “sure” Wojcicki had been distracted by viewing the images he had just taken.

A jury of nine women and three men took two hours and forty minutes to return a unanimous guilty verdict at Cardiff Crown Court.

Judge Morgan said: “The use of a mobile phone to examine images while driving is every bit as dangerous as texting. You were driving a three tonne minibus – Mr James didn’t stand a chance.”

“Nothing can return Mr James to his loved ones or assuage their grief. The court can only seek to impose a sentence which accords with the gravity of this offence.”

Wojcicki was driving his Mercedes minibus home from Coventry where he had attended a Jehovah’s Witnesses conference with his wife and two daughters.

Judge Morgan added: “The evidence led the jury to conclude you were paying little if any attention to the road in front of you. You were in a left hand drive vehicle on the same side of the road as Mr James. It’s a two lane dual carriageway. The weather was good. Visibility was excellent. Traffic was light. If you had been looking, you could not have failed to have been aware of the presence of Mr James and taken care to drive in a way that would not have brought your vehicle into contact with him.”

Looking at pictures on his phone could be “the only explanation for you driving on following the collision”, he said. “You simply did not know what had happened. It plainly took time for the realisation to sink in and for you to bring your vehicle to a halt.”

He said a description given by an eyewitness of Wojckick “ploughing” into the cyclist was graphic, but in his judgement accurate.

Wojcicki showed no signs of emotion as the judge read out the verdict.

Lord Harley, defending, said this was his client’s first offence and he had a “long history of exemplary driving”. During the trial he had maintained that the cyclist swerved into the path of Wojcicki, giving him little time to react. He added that Wojcicki ‘s failure to slow down immediately could have been because he was traumatised by shock.

Wojcicki was sentenced to five years in prison and banned from driving in the UK for ten years. He will have to retake his test before being allowed back on the road. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

Comments (13)

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1:28pm Thu 28 Aug 14

myopinion1988 says...

Phew really thought he was going to be let off with this!

Please give a good sentence that gives the cyclist and family the justice they deserve
Phew really thought he was going to be let off with this! Please give a good sentence that gives the cyclist and family the justice they deserve myopinion1988
  • Score: 36

3:20pm Thu 28 Aug 14

DavidMclean says...

This was the guy who was taking photos of cars as he was driving and then took a photo of the guy he just mowed down.

No sentence is long enough frankly.
This was the guy who was taking photos of cars as he was driving and then took a photo of the guy he just mowed down. No sentence is long enough frankly. DavidMclean
  • Score: 42

5:02pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Magor says...

Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.
Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone. Magor
  • Score: 19

6:49pm Thu 28 Aug 14

richie55 says...

Magor wrote:
Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.
Magor...they ARE banned.
[quote][p][bold]Magor[/bold] wrote: Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.[/p][/quote]Magor...they ARE banned. richie55
  • Score: 14

7:40pm Thu 28 Aug 14

silentobserver says...

I totally agree. Every day I see no end of drivers either talking or texting as they drive and I don't see what gives them the right to put my life, and the lives of other road users, pedestrians, etc. in danger. Clearly they think they are above the law, and there lies the problem. Only a 5 years sentence for deliberately breaking the law and killing an innocent road user - disgraceful.
I totally agree. Every day I see no end of drivers either talking or texting as they drive and I don't see what gives them the right to put my life, and the lives of other road users, pedestrians, etc. in danger. Clearly they think they are above the law, and there lies the problem. Only a 5 years sentence for deliberately breaking the law and killing an innocent road user - disgraceful. silentobserver
  • Score: 28

9:38pm Thu 28 Aug 14

mamadirt says...

Finally a suitable headline for this sad event. I believe your report from yesterday (Cyclist at fault - fatal crash driver) was missing quote marks . . . disappointing inaccurate reporting :( RIP Mr James.
Finally a suitable headline for this sad event. I believe your report from yesterday (Cyclist at fault - fatal crash driver) was missing quote marks . . . disappointing inaccurate reporting :( RIP Mr James. mamadirt
  • Score: 7

9:35am Fri 29 Aug 14

Maybug says...

Absolutely disgraceful only five years for someones life. If you commit murder is the sentence not much higher!! Is this not the same the poor man has lost his life and his family have to deal with that.
Once again disgusted by the sentence RIP Mr James
Absolutely disgraceful only five years for someones life. If you commit murder is the sentence not much higher!! Is this not the same the poor man has lost his life and his family have to deal with that. Once again disgusted by the sentence RIP Mr James Maybug
  • Score: 3

10:12am Fri 29 Aug 14

MikeO4O8 says...

http://m.southwalesa
rgus.co.uk/news/1143
4944.Cyclist_at_faul
t___fatal_crash_driv
er/

In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death?

I am not defending this guy, just a little confused.
http://m.southwalesa rgus.co.uk/news/1143 4944.Cyclist_at_faul t___fatal_crash_driv er/ In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death? I am not defending this guy, just a little confused. MikeO4O8
  • Score: 0

10:59am Fri 29 Aug 14

grandmammamia says...

richie55 wrote:
Magor wrote:
Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.
Magor...they ARE banned.
They're not banned. It's illegal to use one, unless it's hands free.

When th elegislation was first brought it there seemed to be a lot of discussion about hands free kit but as time has gone by I see more and more people just using mobiles.

I think they're all a distraction, hands free or not. White van man was in the lane next to me on Wharf Rd yesterday , busily texting/keying someone while waiting for the lights to change then as we moved , phone went up to ear and conversation started.
[quote][p][bold]richie55[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Magor[/bold] wrote: Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.[/p][/quote]Magor...they ARE banned.[/p][/quote]They're not banned. It's illegal to use one, unless it's hands free. When th elegislation was first brought it there seemed to be a lot of discussion about hands free kit but as time has gone by I see more and more people just using mobiles. I think they're all a distraction, hands free or not. White van man was in the lane next to me on Wharf Rd yesterday , busily texting/keying someone while waiting for the lights to change then as we moved , phone went up to ear and conversation started. grandmammamia
  • Score: 4

11:18am Fri 29 Aug 14

DavidMclean says...

As I understand it, the main reason people use phones and drive is now for Facebook and all that nonsense.

Earlier this year 32 year Courtney Sanford took a photo of herself as she was driving, and posted it on Facebook with the message "The Happy song makes me so happy". As she was doing so her car drifted across the road and ploughed into the back of a lorry. The car caught fire and she died.

Looking at a screen is far more dangerous than using the phone to talk.
As I understand it, the main reason people use phones and drive is now for Facebook and all that nonsense. Earlier this year 32 year Courtney Sanford took a photo of herself as she was driving, and posted it on Facebook with the message "The Happy song makes me so happy". As she was doing so her car drifted across the road and ploughed into the back of a lorry. The car caught fire and she died. Looking at a screen is far more dangerous than using the phone to talk. DavidMclean
  • Score: 1

4:06pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Magor says...

richie55 wrote:
Magor wrote:
Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.
Magor...they ARE banned.
I mean banned from being in the vehicle.People cannot be trusted not to use them whilst driving so they can only be carried in the boot.
[quote][p][bold]richie55[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Magor[/bold] wrote: Its about time mobile devices are banned from cars,I am fed up of avoiding cars drifting over the centre line to see them either using or looking at a phone.[/p][/quote]Magor...they ARE banned.[/p][/quote]I mean banned from being in the vehicle.People cannot be trusted not to use them whilst driving so they can only be carried in the boot. Magor
  • Score: -1

7:51pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Vic CC says...

MikeO4O8 wrote:
http://m.southwalesa

rgus.co.uk/news/1143

4944.Cyclist_at_faul

t___fatal_crash_driv

er/

In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death?

I am not defending this guy, just a little confused.
That headline should have been in quotation marks... the Argus were quoting Wojcicki - in his evidence he blamed the cyclist.
[quote][p][bold]MikeO4O8[/bold] wrote: http://m.southwalesa rgus.co.uk/news/1143 4944.Cyclist_at_faul t___fatal_crash_driv er/ In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death? I am not defending this guy, just a little confused.[/p][/quote]That headline should have been in quotation marks... the Argus were quoting Wojcicki - in his evidence he blamed the cyclist. Vic CC
  • Score: 0

3:14am Sun 31 Aug 14

MikeO4O8 says...

Vic CC wrote:
MikeO4O8 wrote:
http://m.southwalesa


rgus.co.uk/news/1143


4944.Cyclist_at_faul


t___fatal_crash_driv


er/

In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death?

I am not defending this guy, just a little confused.
That headline should have been in quotation marks... the Argus were quoting Wojcicki - in his evidence he blamed the cyclist.
I know that now, I didn't read the artical before I posted it, just assumed the headline spoke for its self. But that the argus for you (misleading headlines)
[quote][p][bold]Vic CC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MikeO4O8[/bold] wrote: http://m.southwalesa rgus.co.uk/news/1143 4944.Cyclist_at_faul t___fatal_crash_driv er/ In that post it says the cyclist was at fault. If the cyclist was at fault why is this guy being charged for his death? I am not defending this guy, just a little confused.[/p][/quote]That headline should have been in quotation marks... the Argus were quoting Wojcicki - in his evidence he blamed the cyclist.[/p][/quote]I know that now, I didn't read the artical before I posted it, just assumed the headline spoke for its self. But that the argus for you (misleading headlines) MikeO4O8
  • Score: 0
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