Delivery driver posed 'extreme danger' to other motorists as he drove on A14 under influence of drugs
A delivery driver posed an 'extreme danger' to other motorists as he drove on the A14 while under the influence of drugs, a court heard today.
Lee Bruce, of Romford, Essex, 'constantly swerved across lanes, braked suddenly, hit a nearside embankment, and the central reservation, with speeds varying between 15 mph and 60 mph'.
The incident happened around 2pm on the westbound carriage way of the A14 between junction 47 at Woolpit and and junction 45 at Rougham, on January 8, 2020.
The 46-year- old had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drugs.
He was found to have 60ml of methamphetamine in his blood stream on the day of his arrest.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that Bruce was finally stopped by an off-duty police officer who pulled in front of him to bring him to a halt.
Other vehicles had also 'served as a barrier', using their hazard lights to warn other motorists and to surround the Peugeot Boxer van.
Simon Connolly, prosecuting, told the court that off-duty officer, PC Daniel Witter, had described the defendant, as looking "demonic" when he approached him.
"He had never seen such erratic driving in 30 years," he said.
"When he approached the van, the driver was looking demonic, hell bent on getting away and had to be put to the ground and restrained by other officers."
Defending, Donal Lawler, told the court Mr Bruce had been 'unaware' how he had been driving.
He said Bruce had taken the drug that day after receiving a letter from a magistrates court relating to a mugging incident in which Bruce 'had been a victim'.
He told the court 'a friend' had given him the drug to help calm his nerves following the incident.
"He had taken the drug two or three times before as his stress went away," he said.
"On the day on the incident because the letter had upset him.
"He was unaware how he was driving."
Judge Emma Peters, described Bruce's manner of driving as "astonishingly frightening" and said he had posed an "extreme danger" to other motorists.
The court heard how Bruce had lost his job following the incident and that he needed his licence to help him look after his mother whom he shopped for, and was awaiting a delayed operation, during the Covid 19 crisis.
Judge Peters, said: "I have seen the dashcam footage which extends for a period of five minutes or so.
"When you take to a road in the size of the van you are driving you are effectively, potentially driving a lethal weapon, and that's why the laws of this country are so strict.
"When you take to the road, you are expected to do so in a manner where you are fit and aware of other road users.
"Instead, you knowingly consumed a drug given by a friend.
By taking that drug rendered yourself unsafe."
Bruce was given a 12 month prison sentence for dangerous driving, and an eight week sentence for driving while under the influence of drugs, to run concurrently, suspended for 24 months.
He was also disqualified from driving for three years, pending an extended driving test, and ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Peters, added: "PC Witter is to be congratulated for the steps he took."