Jongewaard guilty of hit-and-run

Defending national champion Chris Jongewaard rides consistently

Defending national champion Chris Jongewaard rides consistently (Image credit: Evan Jeffery / evanjeffery.blogspot.com)

Australian cross country mountain biker Chris Jongewaard will be sentenced next month after being found guilty of criminal driving offences. Jongewaard left Matthew Rex, a fellow cyclist and former training partner, with serious injuries after the February 2007 accident.

The verdict was handed down in the South Australian District Court today, with just Wayne Chivell finding Jongewaard guilty of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident. Jongewaard was found not guilty of causing serious harm by dangerous driving, the original charge which the four time national champion pled not guilty to.

Jongewaard and Rex had been out celebrating the latter’s 22nd birthday with a group of friends on the night of the accident. The court was told Jongewaard had been speeding and drink-driving when he hit Rex, who was cycling at the time.

Chivell said the reckless and dangerous way in which Rex was riding was a substantial cause of the accident, but it did not relieve Jongewaard of his responsibility for causing the injuries. Rex had also been drinking prior to the accident, with witnesses also telling the court earlier in the trial they believed Rex had taken drugs earlier that evening.

Rex was left with a broken back, broken hip, fractured leg, punctured lung, severed arteries and internal bleeding following the accident. Jongewaard was omitted from Australia’s Beijing Olympic Games squad after being charged over the incident.

Jongewaard will be sentenced on September 7.

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