STOP ... OR ELSE
By MADELEINE DOHERTY
A MURWILLUMBAH ''Stop-Go'' man who decked a driver after being called an "idiot" has been was let off scot-free by the courts.
Darrell Edwin Hayman pleaded guilty in Murwillumbah Court this week to assaulting Paul Attale on March 24.
Hayman, who was working as a traffic controller on Casuarina Way, South Kingscliff, stopped traffic travelling south for 15 minutes while roadworks were under way.
The court heard that drivers approached Hayman to ask about the delay. Attale approached Hayman and walked off after calling him an idiot.
Witnesses said Hayman threw down his sign and rushed after Attale. Following a volley of verbal abuse Hayman punched Attale in the face several times.
Attale attempted to defend himself and both men fell to the ground rolling and struggling before getting to their feet to continue the fight.
Witnesses finally pulled the men apart and the police were called.
Hayman came off second best with a swollen right eye, cuts and abrasions.
The court heard Hayman had been on the receiving end of numerous insults that day before he finally "lost it".
Magistrate Jeff Linden said the court never condoned violence but in this case the court understood his frustration. Hayman was convicted until the rising of the court.
Outside the court Hayman offered some advice for drivers ? "chill out and stop the abuse"
He said in his three-and-a-half years as a stop-go-man he had been the target of numerous incidences of road rage.
"I've been run over by a guy who didn't like the fact the road was one way.
"He just drove straight through collecting me on the bonnet," he said.
Along with the verbal abuse there have been eggs thrown and the usual rude hand signals.
While 50 percent of drivers display some kind of rage, the other 50 per cent are often grateful for the tedious work the stop-go men perform, often in extreme conditions.
"We're just doing our job - it's not fun being on the road taking all the abuse.
"It's the authorities who organise the road works that don't give a hoot if Joe Bloggs is five minutes late for a meeting, or a delivery or if the school bus isn't on time," he said.