Norwich – Speeding, Road Rage and Hit & Run in 1871

150 years ago this week, there was a case heard in the Shirehall in Norwich with a Mr. J. Longs in the chair and it’s quite an early case that combines speeding, road rage and hit & run. I’m not sure that I’ve read about an earlier case involving these breaches of road etiquette, but I’m sure that Colonel Custance wasn’t entirely pleased to hear about this incident.

Incidentally, the above image is from Attlebridge, on the old Norwich and Fakenham turnpike road, although I don’t know where exactly the accident took place.

I shall quote the case from the Norwich Mercury:

“William Dann, teamman, in the employ of Colonel Custance, was charged with driving furiously on the Norwich and Fakenham turnpike road on Tuesday last, and causing wilful damage to a cart driven by Mary Ann Fisher, of Reepham. It appeared that the complainant was driving home from Norwich when she overtook the defendant, who was at that time driving quietly. After passing him, however, defendant whipped his horses and dashed along, apparently with the view of getting before the complainant, who drew close to the edge of the road, but could not avoid a collision.

The result was that defendant’s wagon caught the wheel of complainant’s cart, smashing it to pieces. The woman was thrown out of her cart, and became unconscious, but notwithstanding this, the defendant drove on without rendering any assistance. The amount of damage the defendant had already agreed to pay, and pleading guilty to the charge, he was now fined 5s and £1. 9s. 6d costs”.