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Motorist jailed for crushing man with van in road rage incident

A custody photo of Francesco Ippolito
Francesco Ippolito

A man who used his van as a weapon to seriously injure another man following a road rage incident has been jailed for nearly 10 years.

Francesco Ippolito used his Volkswagen Transporter to crush his victim against another vehicle, causing life changing injuries.

Thirty-seven-year-old Ippolito initially denied a charge of GBH but changed his plea to guilty two weeks before the trial was due to take place in February.

He was subsequently sentenced at Bristol Crown Court last Thursday (6 April) to nine years and four months in custody.

The incident happened on 1 June last year on Banwell Road, near Hutton Garden Centre just outside Weston-super-Mare.

Ippolito was angered when his vehicle’s wing mirror made contact with that of another van. He got out of his van to confront the other driver and two other men before driving at one them.

He then fled to Bristol before being arrested.

His victim, aged in his 30s, suffered fractures to both legs as well as a broken pelvis and has needed multiple operations.

In a statement ahead of sentencing he said: “This has had a huge impact on my family.

“I am unable to go out of the house unaided or play with my children.

“I am angry, upset and I constantly struggle with pain.

“This was over a broken wing mirror and this incident has ruined my life.”

On his release from prison, Ippolito, who was previously convicted of causing death of a man in 2009 by careless driving, will remain on licence for an extended period of five years having been classed as a dangerous offender.

Sentencing him, Judge William Hart told Ippolito: “The facts of this matter are this was an insignificant everyday event of a road traffic collision which led to extreme violence, you lost your self-control with devastating consequences.

“You fled the scene thereafter motivated by covering your tracks this evidence is overwhelming.

“The consequences for [your victim] are very grave indeed.”

Detective Sergeant Rachel Walls said: “This was a horrifying assault and the sentence given to Ippolito reflects how awful it was.

“We carried out a thorough investigation and it is due to the evidence we were able to gather that Ippolito ultimately had no choice but to plead guilty.

“I’d like to thank all the officers involved for their concerted efforts in locating the defendant, and throughout the investigation.

“Our thoughts remain with the victim and his family as the continue to live with and overcome the injuries sustained in the incident.”