A FORMER soldier has described how his first thought was to call his wife after he was mown down in a shocking road rage attack.

Council worker Steven Smith was struck by a car driven by Arthur McGhie in Wyvern Way, Burgess Hill.

The angry driver attacked Mr Smith over his apparent rage at the victim working as a traffic warden manager.

McGhie drove his Kia straight into Mr Smith, sending him flying over the bonnet and into a hedge, before punching him as he lay stricken upside down.

Mr Smith was left bloodied by the attack and at Hove Crown Court McGhie was found not guilty of attempted murder, but admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and dangerous driving.

He was asked why his first call was to his wife, not the emergency services after the sickening incident, which was captured on video and went viral on social media.

“Because I love her, she’s my wife,” he said.

He was driving home in Burgess Hill after finishing his shift as a line manager for traffic wardens.

McGhie was staring at him over his facemask, and Mr Smith had flashed McGhie to show he was giving way.

Mr Smith said he was curious to know what was going on.

“It was an odd situation from start to finish. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t,” he said.

The council worker said the McGhie was rambling and not making sense.

“He just kept repeating himself and I thought he was on drugs,” he said. “I thought he was high on drugs. Not alcohol because I didn’t smell any.

“I said ‘you are not making any sense, you’re being a fud, are you on drugs?’

He decided to come right into my face. I could feel his forehead on my nose.

“My hands were still in my pockets and I thought he was going to headbutt me,” he said.

Mr Smith said he used his army training to take the smaller man to the floor when he thought he was about to be attacked.

After the confrontation, Mr Smith said he walked back to his car.

“I was going to get in my car, drive home and talk to my wife,” he said.

The Argus: The moment before Arthur McGhie mowed down Steven Smith in Burgess Hill road rage attackThe moment before Arthur McGhie mowed down Steven Smith in Burgess Hill road rage attack

“As I walked back, I heard a noise. I don’t know if it was a shout or a scream. As I looked over my right shoulder, I ended up on the bonnet of his vehicle. I heard something which made me look over my right shoulder. I saw the bonnet of his vehicle. To be honest, I just closed my eyes.

“The next minute, I woke up on the hedge. I think I blacked out because I don’t remember going through the air.

“My head bouncing off his windscreen - it’s something you don’t forget.

“I remember getting myself straight up.

“That’s anything you are taught, to get yourself up all the time.

“My body just took over. I looked down because my trousers had been ripped down, torn off and wrapped round my feet.

“I was trapped between the bush and the fence, the trousers had wrapped themselves round my ankles.

The Argus: Steven Smith was struck in the horrifying road rage incident in Burgess HillSteven Smith was struck in the horrifying road rage incident in Burgess Hill

“I can see Mr McGhie coming towards me and trying to hit me again. He made contact with me twice. One in the chest and one in the face.”

Mr Smith said the attack only stopped when a woman ran out from one of the houses next to him and said she was calling the police.

“The only thing going through my head was to phone my wife,” Mr Smith said.

Luckily he did not suffer any serious injuries during the traumatic incident.

McGhie tried to claim he was acting in “self-defence”, and later he attacked police officers trying to arrest him.

He was found guilty of assaulting two emergency workers, and admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm on another.

McGhie claimed more happened than was revealed in the shocking footage, and feared someone was stalking him on his daily routine.

Rachel Beckett, prosecuting, suggested that a kind of “tunnel vision” set in, and said getting into a car to run someone over is not self defence.

McGhie, of Cants Lane, Burgess Hill, now faces sentencing in September.