8:20am Friday 9th November 2012
By David Wiles
A MOTORIST who knocked over a park ranger while pulling stunts in the Coate Water car park has been spared jail.
David Foulds, 26, was performing power slides and spins in a BMW 3 Series when he crashed into Stuart Searl, who was knocked onto the bonnet and into the windscreen.
He then drove off without stopping to check the welfare of his victim, who was left with sore ribs, cuts and grazes to his hands.
District judge Simon Cooper, sitting at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, branded Foulds’ actions as foolish but decided he should not be jailed after hearing from probation officers that it would be more effective to deal with him within the community.
Foulds, of Thorne Road, Eldene, Swindon, was given a 12-month community order, with nine months’ supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work.
He was also banned from driving for four months and told to pay £85 costs.
Nick Barr, prosecuting, who showed the court CCTV footage of the crime, said it took place in the Coate Water car park at about 9am on October 8. “CCTV shows a silver BMW being driven around that car park,” he said. “The driver is Mr Foulds. He is doing power slides and wheel spins.
“Park ranger Stuart Searl goes to challenge the driver. He goes to the vehicle when it’s parked stationary in the car park. As he approaches, the vehicle quickly moves and reverses around and turns as well.
“He went around to challenge the driver and he’s struck by the front offside part of the vehicle. He goes on the bonnet and hits the window.”
Mr Barr said Mr Foulds drove away but was arrested later in the day and admitted the offence in a police interview, where he also showed some concern for Mr Searl.
The court was told Foulds worked as part of the delivery team and also in the warehouse at Willoby’s Furniture Company.
Probation officers recommended him for a community order or a suspended prison sentence, adding that he was very disappointed with his behaviour, which be believed was “ridiculous, stupid and dangerous”.
Foulds pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, assault by beating, and failing to stop after an accident.
Stephen Weighell, defending, said only part of his job was as a delivery driver so he would not lose the position, but said he had nothing else to add in mitigation. Foulds himself added: “I’m really sorry it’s happened.”
In passing sentence, Judge Cooper told him: “You struck him, you definitely know you struck him and you drove off. You drove carelessly, and in all the circumstances, Mr Foulds, this is serious enough for a community order to be imposed in your case.
“It’s not one that requires a prison sentence on this occasion. Having observed your driving, there was some stupid, foolish behaviour in the early morning in a remote car park, unpopulated, doing whatever you wanted to do with your car.
“It didn’t do a lot of good to the car park but it didn’t do people too much harm until someone came on site. You are lucky not to be facing a charge of dangerous driving or worse.”
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