Scarborough businessman who drove through a road closure threatening two workmen and calling them names is spared jail

Mark Tyson was sentenced at York Crown Court.
Mark Tyson was sentenced at York Crown Court.

An enraged businessman rammed his pick-up truck into a roadwork barrier just yards from two workmen who refused to let him pass through a road closure, a court heard.

Mark Tyson, 39, mounted a grass verge in an attempt to drive around the roadblock, steering his Ford Ranger towards one of the workmen and then crashing it into a roadside barrier following a furious argument between the three men.

York Crown Court heard that Tyson flew into a rage because moments earlier the workmen - a father and son who were carrying out water-mains works in Nettledale Lane, Snainton - had allowed other motorists to pass through instead of taking the more-circuitous diversion.

Prosecutor Victoria Hajba said that Tyson, who lives in a Grade II-listed farmhouse very near the work site, was irked by the road closure because he was nearly home.

“The defendant got argumentative, calling (the two named maintenance workers) names, saying they were pathetic, taking pictures of their van and (becoming) threatening,” she added.

“He began to pick up some (roadwork) equipment and moved it, (and was) taking down barriers.”

The businessman then got back in his pick-up and “deliberately drove through the road closure and directly (towards one of the workmen)”.

One of the workers got his mobile phone out to film the moment when Tyson’s pick-up “travelled, slowly, directly, towards the workmen and collided with barriers put up in their workspace”.

The older workman claimed the vehicle struck his leg but not seriously enough to cause injury. Tyson, who runs a plant-hire and groundworks business, then reversed the vehicle and drove away, taking the diversionary route.

He was arrested and charged with dangerous driving but denied the allegation and was due to face trial on Tuesday, before entering a last-minute guilty plea. Sentence was adjourned to Wednesday.

It emerged in court that in 2000 the divorced father-of-one, of Nettledale Lane, was convicted of causing death by careless driving while over the drink-drive limit. Tyson’s friend, a front-seat passenger, died in the incident on the same lane, after Tyson lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.

For that offence, in September 1999, Tyson - then in his late teens - was sentenced to 42 months in a young-offenders’ institution.

Ms Hajba said that in the “road-rage” offence at the roadworks site, which occurred at about 6pm on April 10 last year, Tyson had shown “disregard” for the road-closure warnings and the two workmen who were investigating a water-pressure problem at a local farm for their employer Morrison Utility Services, which was contracted to Yorkshire Water.

“It was about 5.40pm when the defendant approached the road closure in his Ford Ranger, got out of the vehicle and asked the work people if he could pass through,” she added.

“He was told he couldn’t because the road was closed. At that point (he) got argumentative.”

Defence barrister Taryn Turner said that Tyson, who had been driving home from a work assignment in Ryedale, was travelling at low speed when the pick-up crashed into the barrier.

She said that before Tyson arrived at the site, the workmen had let other drivers pass through, including a female motorist who swore at them when they tried to stop her, before driving around the road cones and signage.

Tyson accepted he had driven dangerously after mounting the grass verge, although there was “no intention to cause injury”.

Mrs Turner said Tyson’s plant-hire business, which employs two people, had a “healthy” turnover.

Mrs Turner asked judge Peter Kelson QC to bear in mind Tyson’s “contrition and acceptance that what he did was foolish”.

Mr Kelson said that because the dangerous driving was “extremely brief” and there had “mercifully” been no injuries, he could spare Tyson a jail sentence so as not to jeopardise his business, despite noting that the road workers would have “undoubtedly been caused a great deal of fear and anxiety”.

Tyson was given a 12-month community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs, but the judge did not disqualify him from driving because of the effect it would have on his business.