A 58-year-old Bexhill man who knocked over a pensioner while riding an e-scooter has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Sussex Police said the charges were possible because officers were able to confiscate the scooter and prove it was a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’.
At 11.50am on December 1, 2020, officers in a patrol vehicle on Watermill Lane stopped to warn Paul Satchell that he need to stop riding.
Satchell ignored them and rode away. While looking back at the officers, he was involved in a collision with 79-year-old Myra Wood, who was crossing the road.
Wood – who suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured eye socket – agreed for CCTV footage of the incident to be released by police.
The officers rushed to assist Wood, arrested Satchell and confiscated his e-scooter.
Until the government introduces its new low-speed zero-emission vehicle category, e-scooters will be treated as motor vehicles – albeit ones that cannot currently be registered or insured for use on public roads.
This means that riders can be prosecuted for motoring offences and Satchell, of no fixed address, was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
As well as being jailed, he was disqualified from driving for a further three years and eight months.
Speaking after the case, collision unit investigator Chris McGuckin commented: “This was a particularly unusual case in as much as it was an e-scooter that was involved. We could only charge Satchell if it was established that the e-scooter was a ‘vehicle’ within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act.
“The quick actions of PC Turk and PC Kemp to seize the e-scooter, and then the examination and photographs taken by PC Dave Upjohn from our Roads Policing Unit, ensured we were able to show this was a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ to the satisfaction of the CPS.
“Satchell at first pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge and the matter was sent to the Crown Court for trial.
“But he failed to attend court on several occasions. Warrants were issued for his arrest. When he was arrested and appeared in court, the evidence was so strong that he had no choice but to change his plea to guilty.
“We are pleased that we could at last get justice for Mrs Wood with the 16-month prison sentence.
“The case shows that all road users have an obligation to pay attention and be aware of others on the road to prevent causing serious harm.
“It also demonstrates the harm that can be caused by e-scooters, which are still illegal to use in public, outside of a trial area.”