Road rage lorry driver '˜could have killed child'

A lorry driver punched a man in a road rage incident in Portadown after he believed he would not let him pass and was goading him by braking and speeding, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel

Joshua Brian Dunkley (24), whose address was given as Knockaconey Road, Armagh, admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour.

The court heard that on October 6 the injured party was driving his car along the Armagh Road towards Portadown with his young daughter a front seat passenger.

The car in front on him was an ‘R’ driver who was travelling at 45mph and he noticed a lorry so close behind him he could see its grill.

The lorry attempted to overtake the car and flashed its lights and sounded its horn.

When the injured party was stopped at traffic lights the defendant approached the vehicle and knocked on the window.

The driver got out of the car and went towards Dunkley who punched him to the face and he fell to the ground. The victim had to be brought to hospital.

The defendant made a counter allegation saying the other person had not been allowing him to pass.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said this was ‘a very, very, nasty, nasty, nasty offence’ and in any collision between a road user and a lorry the road user came off worse every single time. “I think this is despicable behaviour,” she added.

A barrister representing Dunkley said his client had no record for public order offences and was resident in Coventry. He had flown over to meet the case.

He added that the defendant believed the driver in front was braking and then speeding up to goad him.

Judge Kelly said the driver was doing that to let him know he was too close and to back off.

The lawyer said that no assault charge had been proffered as it was accepted the man got out of the car aggressively and a punch was thrown at Dunkley who struck the injured party in retaliation.

Judge Kelly said this was on the Northway and that on this stretch of road there was no way any lorry was going to have the distance to overtake two vehicles and the front one was an ‘R’ driver.

“We could have been talking about a dead child today thanks to him,” she added. “This person was left with a bleeding mouth and a child had to sit and watch this.”

Adding that it was ‘horrific behaviour’ the judge adjourned the case until July 4 to obtain a pre-sentence report.

“You cannot behave like this on a road. You’re lucky I can’t disqualify you on this charge.”

She was told that he was not living at the Armagh address and the court was given his current address in Coventry.