A hit-and run driver who crashed into a Voi e-scooter rider and left him lying unconscious in a busy Bristol road fled the scene as he was worried he’d get caught without a licence or insurance, a court heard.
Peter Zupko was travelling along East Street in a Skoda Octavia on October 19 last year when he hit the e-scooter rider from behind, throwing him from the vehicle.
The e-scooter rider’s head then ‘struck the bonnet’ of Zupko’s car and he stumbled onto the side of the road before collapsing.
At a sentence hearing on Tuesday (July 19), Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard that Zupko did initially leave the car to ‘check’ on the e-scooter rider before panicking and driving off with his female passenger in tow.
The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving without due care and attention and driving without a licence or insurance at a previous hearing.
May Li, prosecuting, said that the e-scooter rider lay on East Street, a major route through Bedminster, ‘drifting in and out of consciousness’ before he was rushed to hospital via ambulance.
After witnesses who had managed to take down Zupko’s number plate reported the crash, police later visited him at his Cossam Road home.
Ms Li said that although Zupko admitted he was the driver involved, he also tried to blame what happened on the e-scooter rider, claiming he had ‘come out of nowhere’.
But CCTV revealed the e-scooter rider, who sustained a concussion, a sprained ankle and bruised ribs in the incident, had been signalling to turn left and was driving correctly.
In a victim’s statement read aloud to the court, the e-scooter rider said he had been left with painful headaches and a constant ringing in his ears and that he’d had to cancel several work shifts, causing him to lose out on wages.
“I’ve also had to cancel a big job interview that I was working towards,” he said. “The accident was not my fault.”
Zupko’s defence solicitor told the court that although he had originally tried to blame the e-scooter rider, he now ‘fully accepts making a huge mistake, that it was all his fault and he isn’t seeking to minimise that’.
He told the court that Zupko was expecting a baby with his partner and had took on the vehicle, despite not having a licence or being insured, so that he could drive her to important hospital appointments.
“He’s unlikely to find himself back in court and is ready to accept the consequences,” the defence solicitor added.
Presiding Justice Susan Helfer said she was ‘disappointed’ to hear that Zupko had already been banned from driving for a previous offence committed just a few months after the East Street crash.
She told Zupko, who is unemployed and living in temporary accommodation: “It is incredible that despite the fact you apparently ‘regret’ doing this, it didn’t stop you from driving again.
“You initially lied to the police on this occassion - it’s fortunate for the e-scooter rider that CCTV showed he was not in the wrong.
“I hope that you have learned your lesson, and are going to be responsible now - especially as you have a child on the way.”
Ms Helfer handed Zupko a 12 month community order with 160 hours of unpaid work.
He was banned from driving for 12 months, which will run concurrently alongside a previous six-month disqualification.
Zupko was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a £95 victim surcharge.