Jail term for driver who crashed into off-duty police officer
PUBLISHED: 06:55 02 January 2020
A man who caused a car crash where the victim 'thought they would die' has been jailed for more than two years.
Joseph Hale was given a 26-month sentence at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday for possession with intent to supply cannabis and cocaine and dangerous driving.
Hale, aged 34, was driving in Clevedon Road in Walton-in-Gordano, under the influence of cocaine and cannabis on August 30.
His driving was described as 'erratic' by witnesses as he swerved on both sides of the road for around three miles before crashing into an off-duty police officer's car who was driving on the other side of the road.
The woman's car was 'thrown into the air' and landed on its roof.
When approached by witnesses, Hale could not answer questions properly, his speech was slurred and his pupils dilated.
Police officers found cocaine in his possession and roadside tests showed he was twice over the drug-driving limit, the court was told.
Hale told officers he was 'looking at his phone' when he crashed and blamed the collision on the other driver.
The victim suffered bruising, soft tissue damage and needed 11 staples to close a head wound.
In a statement read in court, she said: "The collision has had a very significant impact on me, I am now scared to get into a car even as a passenger.
"I thought I might die when I was upside down and trapped inside my vehicle, and the thought that my daughter could have been in the car with me has caused me great anxiety.
"My confidence has taken a huge knock and my memory has been affected.
"The whole experience was petrifying."
A search of Hale's home, in Backwell, found more than 600g of cannabis and more than £5,500 in cash.
Hale insisted the drugs were for his own use and the cash was obtained through selling food from his food van.
He received consecutive sentences for the offences and will be disqualified from driving for 21 months after release.
Judge William Hart told Hale: "You have a number of mental health problems including anxiety and depression, and used drugs to self medicate, which contributed to your offending.
"But there was no reason for you to be out driving, you chose to do so and committed a very serious offence."