A drug driver who ignored a lane closure before crashing his HGV into a stationary police car, seriously injuring two police officers, has been jailed.
Christopher Swain appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on Tuesday (August 10) where he was sentenced for two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and for being over the specified limit for cannabis.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years and ordered to retake another driving test.
The 38-year-old from St Peter’s Road, Stowmarket in Suffolk had earlier pleaded guilty to both offences.
PC Christopher Windsor-Beck and PC Matt Brand had responded to reports of a broken-down lorry on the A1 at Colsterworth, shortly after 11.20am on November 25, last year.
While waiting for recovery, a second lorry driven by Swain, drove through the lane closure, and struck the stationary police vehicle from behind, causing serious injuries to both officers.
Their injuries include fractures to the spine, broken ribs, and a broken collarbone.
PC Windsor-Beck and PC Brand have also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since the incident. Swain sustained minor injuries during the incident.
Grantham Sergeant Dan McCormack said: “This was a difficult incident involving two members of my team who were simply carrying out their duties in keeping the public of Lincolnshire safe.”
He continued: “The dangers of getting behind the wheel after using any drug are highlighted in this incident.
“The driver’s reaction times were greatly impeded, and I have no doubt that this was the main contributing factor to this accident.
“We will continue to tackle drug driving as part of our plan to make Lincolnshire’s roads safe for everyone to travel on.”
Both PC Brand and PC Windsor-Beck are still recovering but have returned to work. Sergeant Dan McCormack said: “They are incredibly thankful for all the support and well wishes they have received from their colleagues as well as the public.”
Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) urged the Government to review the way that drug driving is tackled in a new report.
The report, 'Drink driving – the tip of an iceberg?', shows that enforcement of the drug driving laws varies dramatically across the country.
Forces with better procedures, contract and training are convicting ten times more drug drivers than others, when controlling for population size.
Meanwhile, high costs and delays with blood testing mean that some police forces are rationing what should be a routine roadside test.
Reoffending is also a major concern with 44% of recorded offences being committed by reoffenders.
Furthermore, fleets have previously been warned about an increased risk of drug driving as drivers return to work from furlough.
The warning, from a major supplier of drug driver testing equipment, came as figures from the police showed how drug driving was becoming more prevalent than drink driving.
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Spike - 17/08/2021 15:23
Absolutely no excuse. A permanent driving ban would be more appropriate otherwise we are never going to resolve the issue
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