Hit-and-run horror

Lives ‘literally destroyed’, driver jailed 2yrs 3mths

Lives ‘literally destroyed’, driver jailed 2yrs 3mths

CRIME SCENE: Police at Centennial Marine Drive on April 10 of this year after two men were struck by a car. The driver fled without stopping and later hid his car at Whatatutu. Picture by Paul Rickard
Hit and run scene: St John Ambulance staff treat one of the victims. Picture supplied

A prison parolee who bowled two men with his car then absconded on Centennial Marine Drive earlier this year has been jailed for two years, three months.

Samuel Lee Sheridan, 34, was also ordered by Judge Warren Cathcart to pay direct losses suffered by each of the victims — $1812 to one of the men, and $600 to the other. An 18-month driver disqualification will begin upon Sheridan’s release from prison.

He must serve the sentence imposed for this offending cumulatively to one for drug dealing on which he was paroled but recalled to prison after this incident.

Sheridan appeared for sentence in Gisborne District Court via AV-link from a prison unit. His mother watched on from the public gallery in court.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said the victim’s lives had been “literally destroyed” and they had been “really dealt to”.

Sheridan’s actions after hitting the men showed a complete lack of humanity and a sole interest only in protecting himself, Mr Manning said.

Sheridan left both men lying on the ground — one having fallen from the bonnet of the car where he had lain for 170 metres as the car continued.

Sheridan fled, making no attempt to stop or even slow down and no attempt to report the incident to police.

He tried to avoid detection by conferring with associates and hiding the car, stripped of its number plates, out of sight under trees at Whatatutu.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of careless use causing injury (which carries a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment) and a charge of failing to stop to ascertain injury after an accident (maximum five years’ imprisonment).

Two charges of attempting to pervert justice were earlier withdrawn and the scope of a summary of facts revised for sentencing.

Two bus drivers were wearing high-visibility vests when struck

The victims were school bus driver associates of senior years, were both wearing high-visibility vests and out for their regular morning exercise about 6.15am on April 10.

They were walking to the left of the carriageway where there was no footpath when they were struck from behind by the front of Sheridan’s silver Holden Commodore.

Each suffered life-threatening injuries and has been unable to return to work.

They and their families had also suffered huge financial repercussions.

One of the men was in Gisborne Hospital for nearly a month. In a statement for the court, he said his quality of life had been severely diminished and he faced a long and uncertain recovery.

Once congenial, he now led an isolated life, tired easily, and could not cope with loud noises and crowds.

He was unable to travel and could not be left alone overnight due to unpredictable bouts of dizziness, which caused anxiety and a risk of falling.

His family members, who live elsewhere, had to travel to Gisborne more often.

The other victim spent eight weeks in hospital, including a fortnight in an induced coma.

He underwent three major surgeries to remove a section of his bowel due to internal bleeding, and to reconstruct his face.

His bottom jaw was detached from his skull, and his eye socket needed to be screwed back in place.

He suffered numerous broken ribs and a fractured leg.

He spent six weeks in a brain rehabilitation facility.

He could no longer live independently and had to leave his friends and life in Gisborne to live elsewhere with his son and daughter-in-law. While in a coma, he missed his son’s wedding day.

Walking used to be his only hobby but he struggles to do it now through constant fear he might be hit again.

Counsel Alistair Clarke said Sheridan panicked but his actions were deplorable and resulted in an outcome quite different to one that would have occurred, had he simply stopped.

A careless piece of driving was seriously aggravated by Sheridan’s appalling decisions. He was deeply remorseful and had written apologies to both men.

He was willing to attend restorative justice meetings but accepted neither of the men wanted or were able to attend, said Mr Clarke,

If there came a time the men could tolerate him, he would try to do things to help them.

Mr Clarke confirmed to the judge that despite Sheridan’s previous sentence for drug dealing, there was no suggestion of intoxication in this incident.

Judge Cathcart said only a man with a callous and selfish outlook could have avoided aiding these innocent citizens. This offending reflected a disturbing mindset.

The judge set a three-year starting point. Sheridan’s breach of parole was a serious aggravating factor but because he was recalled to prison, there would be no uplift.

There was two months uplift for Sheridan’s previous driving convictions — nine for driving while disqualified, two for drink-driving, two for dangerous driving, and some notations for driving matters in the Youth Court jurisdiction.

There was two months discount for Sheridan’s remorse and willingness to attend restorative justice.

He received a full 25 percent (nine months) discount for his guilty pleas.

A prison parolee who bowled two men with his car then absconded on Centennial Marine Drive earlier this year has been jailed for two years, three months.

Samuel Lee Sheridan, 34, was also ordered by Judge Warren Cathcart to pay direct losses suffered by each of the victims — $1812 to one of the men, and $600 to the other. An 18-month driver disqualification will begin upon Sheridan’s release from prison.

He must serve the sentence imposed for this offending cumulatively to one for drug dealing on which he was paroled but recalled to prison after this incident.

Sheridan appeared for sentence in Gisborne District Court via AV-link from a prison unit. His mother watched on from the public gallery in court.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said the victim’s lives had been “literally destroyed” and they had been “really dealt to”.

Sheridan’s actions after hitting the men showed a complete lack of humanity and a sole interest only in protecting himself, Mr Manning said.

Sheridan left both men lying on the ground — one having fallen from the bonnet of the car where he had lain for 170 metres as the car continued.

Sheridan fled, making no attempt to stop or even slow down and no attempt to report the incident to police.

He tried to avoid detection by conferring with associates and hiding the car, stripped of its number plates, out of sight under trees at Whatatutu.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of careless use causing injury (which carries a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment) and a charge of failing to stop to ascertain injury after an accident (maximum five years’ imprisonment).

Two charges of attempting to pervert justice were earlier withdrawn and the scope of a summary of facts revised for sentencing.

Two bus drivers were wearing high-visibility vests when struck

The victims were school bus driver associates of senior years, were both wearing high-visibility vests and out for their regular morning exercise about 6.15am on April 10.

They were walking to the left of the carriageway where there was no footpath when they were struck from behind by the front of Sheridan’s silver Holden Commodore.

Each suffered life-threatening injuries and has been unable to return to work.

They and their families had also suffered huge financial repercussions.

One of the men was in Gisborne Hospital for nearly a month. In a statement for the court, he said his quality of life had been severely diminished and he faced a long and uncertain recovery.

Once congenial, he now led an isolated life, tired easily, and could not cope with loud noises and crowds.

He was unable to travel and could not be left alone overnight due to unpredictable bouts of dizziness, which caused anxiety and a risk of falling.

His family members, who live elsewhere, had to travel to Gisborne more often.

The other victim spent eight weeks in hospital, including a fortnight in an induced coma.

He underwent three major surgeries to remove a section of his bowel due to internal bleeding, and to reconstruct his face.

His bottom jaw was detached from his skull, and his eye socket needed to be screwed back in place.

He suffered numerous broken ribs and a fractured leg.

He spent six weeks in a brain rehabilitation facility.

He could no longer live independently and had to leave his friends and life in Gisborne to live elsewhere with his son and daughter-in-law. While in a coma, he missed his son’s wedding day.

Walking used to be his only hobby but he struggles to do it now through constant fear he might be hit again.

Counsel Alistair Clarke said Sheridan panicked but his actions were deplorable and resulted in an outcome quite different to one that would have occurred, had he simply stopped.

A careless piece of driving was seriously aggravated by Sheridan’s appalling decisions. He was deeply remorseful and had written apologies to both men.

He was willing to attend restorative justice meetings but accepted neither of the men wanted or were able to attend, said Mr Clarke,

If there came a time the men could tolerate him, he would try to do things to help them.

Mr Clarke confirmed to the judge that despite Sheridan’s previous sentence for drug dealing, there was no suggestion of intoxication in this incident.

Judge Cathcart said only a man with a callous and selfish outlook could have avoided aiding these innocent citizens. This offending reflected a disturbing mindset.

The judge set a three-year starting point. Sheridan’s breach of parole was a serious aggravating factor but because he was recalled to prison, there would be no uplift.

There was two months uplift for Sheridan’s previous driving convictions — nine for driving while disqualified, two for drink-driving, two for dangerous driving, and some notations for driving matters in the Youth Court jurisdiction.

There was two months discount for Sheridan’s remorse and willingness to attend restorative justice.

He received a full 25 percent (nine months) discount for his guilty pleas.