Australian cyclist jailed after hit and run conviction

Chris Jongewaard left fellow rider severely injured

Australian cyclist Chris Jongewaard has been jailed for two years after being convicted over a hit and run incident that left a fellow rider severely injured.

Jongewaard had been drinking when he got behind the wheel and knocked Matthew Rex off his bike after the two of them had been at a party celebrating.

Rex, 24, suffered a broken back, broken hip, broken leg and internal bleeding in the accident in 2007, from which Jongewaard fled.

South Australian District Court Judge Wayne Chivell today refused defence requests to suspend Jongewaard's prison term.

He sentenced the 30-year-old to two years' jail with a nine-month non-parole period and disqualified him from driving for 10 years.

Jongewaard was last month found guilty of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident.

Judge Chivell said Jongewaard had been drinking before the crash and his offending was by no means at the bottom end of the scale.

However, he also criticised Rex for being drunk, possibly on drugs and for riding without lights or a helmet, saying Rex should take considerable blame for the incident.

Jongewaard has represented Australia in mountain biking and has also ridden in major international road events including the Tour Down Under.

He competed for Australia at last week's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, where he finished 15th.

Rex said he planned to take civil action against Jongewaard.

© AFP 2009

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