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Simon Richardson MBE — who cycles powered by one leg after being left with no feeling down one side following a previous car crash — was training on a dual carriageway when Edward Adams crashed into him with his van. Furthermore, Mr Adams, a farmer, failed to stop at the scene of the accident and absconded.
Mr Richardson, 44, who won double gold and one silver in Beijing in 2008, suffered life-threatening injuries including a fractured spine, sternum and pelvis and perforated bowel. He was put in a coma while his condition was stabilised and spent 25 days in hospital.
Mr Adams, 60, hid his white Peugeot van at his farm but cops spotted it using a helicopter.
He was twice over the drink-drive limit and clutched a glass of whisky when they arrested him.
Tests found he could not read a number plate from four metres even while wearing his driving glasses and had difficulty seeing another one from two metres away.
Newport Crown Court heard how the accident happened on a clear day last August as Simon was around 20 miles into a training ride near his home in Porthcawl, South Wales.
Prosecutor Jane Rowley said: “Mr Adams simply drove through him. He collided into the rear of his bicycle with the passenger side of his van.
“Mr Richardson and the bicycle were thrown into the air and he travelled 26 metres before landing on the grass verge.
“His specialised Beijing Paralympics bike was broken into pieces due to the force of the impact and Mr Richardson suffered serious life-threatening injuries.
“Mr Adam’s driving was more than simply careless, it was dangerous and incompetent.”
Motorist Gordon Broomfield told how he drove past Simon then witnessed the crash in his rear-view mirror.
He said: “The visibility was very good and I had no trouble seeing the cyclist from a distance away on the very straight road and passing him.
“When I looked back I saw the white van coming closer to the cyclist.
“I kept waiting to see when it would move out of the way but it just kept on going. He drove through him.
“I was just in disbelief that this all happened.”
Mr Broomfield gave police the registration number of Adams’s white van and it was later seen by a police helicopter over Adams’s farm near Cowbridge, South Wales.
Miss Rowley added: “It was secreted in the back of Mr Adams’s property”.
The van had sustained damage to the front near side and the windscreen and left headlight were shattered.
“A thermal image camera on the helicopter showed the engine was still warm.”
Adams initially denied any knowledge of the crash but later admitted he was behind the wheel.
He told cops he was blinded by the glare from the sun and thought he had “hit a sheep”.
He said: “There was a bang and I thought, ‘Oh my God I have hit a sheep.’
“But then I thought, ‘Oh well there are a lot of them around,’ and so I carried on.
“When I got home I had a couple of whiskies to calm myself down because I was shaking. I didn’t realise I had hit a person. I am very sorry I hit someone.”
Adams, of Pentre Meyrick, Vale of Glamorgan, denies one charge of dangerous driving. The trial continues.
If found guilty of dangerous driving, Mr Adams faces the possibility of a custodial sentence. He has already pleaded guilty to drink driving so will definitely be banned from driving for a minimum period of 12 months. The punishment will of course be much more severe if he is found guilty of dangerous driving.