A road rage driver was jailed for 18 months Friday 26th September 2014 after crashing his van into a car with such force that it overturned and ended up on its roof.
The 36-year-old man was high on drink and drugs when he smashed the Astra van into the back of a Ford Fiesta on a slip off the northbound A10 in East Herts.
He then abandoned the van and called the police to tell them someone had stolen it.
The Hoddesdon man pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on 18 April this year and perverting the course of justice. He was cleared by a jury at St Albans crown court of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to the driver and passenger in the Fiesta.
The court heard words had been exchanged between the defendant and the men in the Fiesta after his van had blocked a road leading onto the A10 at the Brookfield Centre on Good Friday.
The van driver forced the Fiesta to do an emergency stop and threw an empty coke can at the car as it drove off along the inside lane. He overtook the Fiesta on the main road, but when he saw it head off at The Links junction he swerved across the chevrons, close to the verge, and followed the car before hitting it on the back.
Both men in the Fiesta were taken to Harlow hospital. The driver suffered chest, back and rib pain as well as disturbed sleep. He had six days off work. The passenger, who works as a scaffolder, coughed up blood and had a tender area around his chest. He was off work for a month.
After the crash, the van driver left the scene before stopping and abandoning the van on a kerb. He called the police to say his van had been stolen, making a statement to officers. But he was identified as the driver after a video parade at the police station and was arrested.
In text message found on his phone he said he had been “p…ed” and “geared up.”
Andrew Kerry, defending, said his client understood he faced a jail sentence. He said he had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and post traumatic stress, having been severely beaten up 10 years ago. He said he was asking for help for his conditions.
Since being remanded in custody, he was described by the curate at the jail as an “exemplary prisoner.”
Mr Kerry said the defendant was extremely remorseful and had written a long letter to the judge apologising. He said the cause of his problems was drug and alcohol abuse. “He doesn’t blame anyone else, but needs help,” said Mr Kerry.
Judge Marie Catterson told him: “You deliberately drove at the car. It was aggravated to a significant degree because you were intoxicated by drink and drugs and made off after the collision.” She said he had also been guilty of a blatant case of perverting the course of justice.
He was jailed for 12 months for the dangerous driving and a further 6 months for perverting the cause of justice. The judge also banned him from driving for 4 years and ordered him to take an extended test before he regains his licence.