Drunken Driver in Britain Jailed for Running Over, Reversing Car on Boy Riding Bike

A drunken driver in Britain was sentenced to prison last week for hitting boy on a bicycle, putting the car in reverse and running over him again.

The Sussex Police Department said Keith Vernon, 76, was driving under the influence in West Chiltington when he hit an unidentified 10-year-old boy riding his bike with his father last October.

Upon impact, the boy "[flipped] over his handlebars and onto the road, where the car continued to drive over him," Sussex Police reported.

As the boy's father and other witnesses tried to tell Vernon that the boy and his bike were trapped under the car, he put the vehicle in reverse and drove off with the bike still trapped beneath.

Sussex police reported that Vernon's breathalyzer test showed he had a blood alcohol content of "77mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath." The police report noted that "the legal limit is 35 mcg" in the United Kingdom.

The young boy was hospitalized for broken bones—his collarbone, vertebrae and pelvis—as well as a dislocated hip and facial burns. The police report said he is recovering. The boy's helmet was seriously damaged, but officials said it likely saved him from potentially fatal head injuries.

Following the October 6 incident, police were able to locate Vernon after discovering his parked vehicle still had the boy's bike underneath it. He was charged with "causing serious injury by dangerous driving, [drunken] driving and failing to stop after a road traffic collision," according to the Sussex police. He pleaded guilty to the charges on February 23.

Last week, Vernon was given a prison sentence of two and half years. In addition, he will not be permitted to drive for four and a half years after his release.

Commenters following the police department's Facebook statement on the incident were infuriated by the sentence. "This is awful, he should have been jailed for much longer as it was attempted murder!" one wrote.

Another commented: "2 1/2yrs! It's a slap on the wrist. Should be banned for life and for attempted murder, at the very least, manslaughter, 10 yrs prison. He deliberately reversed over the boy knowing he was under the car!"

Senior Investigating Officer Sergeant Richard Hornsey said in the Sussex police's statement, "This was clearly a traumatic incident for those directly involved, but it has also affected the wider community.

"Vernon ignored the pleas of the bystanders, which included the child's father, and they described the wheels of the car spinning as Vernon tried to drive away while the child and the bicycle were trapped underneath," Hornsey said.

Newsweek reached out to the Sussex Police Department for further comment but it declined to do so.

Last Monday in Florida, a mother was arrested on charges of child neglect and hit-and-run after she allegedly let her 4-year-old daughter drive her car.

Drunk driver jailed after hitting child
Photos from the Sussex Police Department's report on the October 6, 2020, incident in which a 10-year-old boy on a bike was run over by a drunken driver in Britain. Sussex Police Department