Man drove into van and driver to avoid being towedBy Amy Taylor
January 11, 2013
A CHURCHGOING Zambian man admitted driving into a DVLA employee who was trying to tow his car.
Nyasha Rwasarira, 44, ran out of his house in Queen Elizabeth Drive, Aldershot, when he saw a DVLA van trying to remove his Honda Civic.
He got into his car and drove away, smashing into the towing truck and the man operating it.
He pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on January 2, despite having denied the charges at his previous appearance, on November 15.
James Burnham, prosecuting, told the court Rwasarira hit and injured Tim Johnson, a DVLA employee responding to a report the Honda was parked on the road without tax on July 2. “He had put the stabiliser legs down to recover it safely, but as the legs were touching the ground, the defendant ran out of the address and got into the car despite being asked not to,” said Mr Burnham.
The defendant revved the engine and drove forward, trapping Mr Johnson’s leg under the car, before reversing backwards to get away from him, smashing the front of the DVLA van parked behind.
In a statement from Mr Johnson, who was present at court but did not give evidence in person, he said: “I could tell what he was going to do, so I stepped in front of the car and put my hands on the bonnet.
“He was looking angry, and revved the engine, then shot backwards and smashed the lorry.
“I somehow managed to get my leg free – I thought he was going to drive right over me.”
As a result of the assault, Mr Johnson’s right leg was very bruised and his knee was swollen and red as a result.
“He is very shaken about what happened because of his fear that it could have been even worse,” added Mr Burnham.
Defending Rwasarira, Nawraz Karbani said that while his client accepted he had been reckless, he disputed the prosecution’s version of events.
He suffers from HIV after having been diagnosed in 2012 so is quite weak, and doesn’t accept that he was running to the car.
“While he did move out towards the car, he wasn’t aware firstly that it was a DVLA vehicle, nor that it was there to tow his car.
“Mr Johnson didn’t make it clear that they were from the DVLA. He said words to the effect of ‘stop, hang on a minute.’”
Rwasarira, who has been in the UK for eight years and was working as a healthcare assistant at the time of the incident, was on his way to church for a meeting, she said.
“He is obviously remorseful that such an injury has happened, and was unaware at the time that it was so serious, but keep this in context – the injury is not as bad as it could have been.”
Other driving offences, including failing to stop and report an accident, driving without due care and attention and driving without a certificate, were dismissed.
He will be sentenced on January 29 at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court.