Weston man jailed for injuring two cyclists

Zyla was sentenced to eight months in prison for the offence. Picture: Mark Atherton

Zyla was sentenced to eight months in prison for the offence. Picture: Mark Atherton - Credit: Archant

A Weston-super-Mare man has been jailed for crashing into two cyclists, leaving them with serious injuries.

Andrzej Zyla was sentenced to eight months at Bristol Crown Court today (Friday) for causing serious injury by drink driving.

Zyla, of Highgrove Walk, was driving on the A370 towards Bristol and was waiting at traffic lights when the cyclists, approaching the junction from Somerset Avenue, moved over to the right hand lane.

Dash cam footage showed Zyla accelerating hard and travelling at almost 40mph when the collision occurred, he applied his brakes but had seen the cyclists too late due to a glaring sun and dirty windscreen.

The two cyclists, Robert Withers and Nicola Scott, were travelling to Bristol at 6.25am to compete in the Great Weston Bike Ride.

The friends heard a noise from behind them before they were propelled into the air and landed on a heap in the road.

Robert was able to get it his feet but Nicola was unable to stand, with blood running from her ear and severe grazes to her arms and shoulders.

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Zyla, aged 37, was found to be one-and-a-half times over the legal driving limit, with 58 milligrammes of alcohol in his system.

He had been at a barbecue the night before where he had drank three beers and three whiskeys, before being picked up at midnight.

Zyla was driving to Bristol Airport to fly to the Czech Republic for his job as a foreman.

Judge Paul Dunkels said: “I have no doubt alcohol impaired your judgement, but this incident was not a result of you getting immediately into the car and driving.

“You are of previous good character, have a clean driving record and no previous convictions.

“Your ability to see the road was made difficult by the low, bright sun and dirty windscreen, but this should have been obvious to you.”

Robert suffered two fractured vertebraes in his back and has not fully recovered from the incident, while Nicola sustained a laceration to her ear, chipped tooth, a sprained wrist, ligament damage to her shoulder and various muscle injuries.

Zyla will be disqualified from driving for three years and four months when he is released from prison and must pass an extended driving test to drive again.

He was also made to pay a victim surcharge.

For more, pick up a copy of next week’s Mercury.