Road rage man stays in jail

By HELEN JACK A 31-YEAR-OLD male driver remains in jail after he allegedly attacked an elderly man, throwing him into the path of an oncoming car during a fit of road rage.

Michael James Dignan, of Ballina, was refused bail in Ballina Local Court last Friday after details of the attack were tendered.

He is charged with assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, negligent driving, driving with a mid-range PCA and driving in a manner dangerous.

Both men were driving north along Angels Beach Drive at 7.45pm on September 18 last year when their vehicles collided 150 metres past the junction with Links Avenue.

Dignan, driving a white Mazda 121, allegedly pulled over to the side of the road allowing his victim, driving a white Toyota Camry, to overtake him. Dignan allegedly pulled back on to the road, colliding with the rear corner of the Camry.

Both drivers stopped and as the elderly man tried to leave his vehicle Dignan is alleged to have walked over, grabbing the man by his shirt and dragging him from his car.

Police allege Dignan began to beat the old man about his head, dragging him along the bitumen road and flinging him into the path of an oncoming car whose driver had to swerve to miss hitting the man.

Dignan is alleged to have then knelt on the man’s back pinning him to the ground yelling at him that he was going to kill him for damaging his car.

Three people who saw the incident stopped and ran to the man’s aid.

They spoke to Dignan, trying to persuade him to let the man go, distracting him enough to allow the old man to escape his grasp.

Dignan is then alleged to have left the scene, going home to drink more beer before he drove back to the location of the attack, screeching to a halt just 10 metres away from the group.

The witnesses stood in front of the elderly man to protect him and kept Dignan talking until police arrived.

During that time Dignan is alleged to have screamed: “I am going to kill you, I’m going to kill you all.”

Dignan was taken into custody by Ballina police and breath-tested, returning a result of 0.110 blood-alcohol content, more than double the%legal limit.

The elderly man was taken to Ballina Hospital and treated for shock, lacerations to his face and torso, and a suspected broken finger.

The case was adjourned to Lismore Court on March 28.

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