Driver from Ottery jailed for ramming police cars to escape drug bust
PUBLISHED: 13:06 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:13 23 January 2018
A driver has been jailed for ramming two police cars as he tried to escape from a drugs bust.
Gary Butler wrote off one police car and caused £1,000 damage to an unmarked vehicle as he drove onto the pavement outside Exeter City’s football ground.
Pedestrians were walking nearby as his Mercedes car caught the police patrol car a glancing blow and bounced off it onto the pavement in Well Street, Exeter.
Butler, formerly of Mill Croft in Ottery St Mary but now serving a jail sentence for other offences, was trying to get away after being stopped by two detectives who wanted to search him for three wraps of drugs which were later found hidden in his sock.
A dashboard camera on the police car filmed Butler accelerating towards it on the narrow street before hitting it so hard on the driver’s side that the officer inside suffered minor injuries from the airbag.
The footage showed the Mercedes trying to get past the police car at speed but crashing into it, causing the image to freeze and blur.
Butler admitted dangerous driving, having no insurance, and possession of class A drugs.
He was jailed for six months and banned from driving for 18 months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: “You were seen by the police, who knew you had a history of drug possession, and it seems you did not wait around to be searched and drove off.
“You certainly saw the marked police vehicle and drove towards it without slowing or stopping. You bashed into the front off side, writing off the vehicle. You bumped up onto the pavement. This was clearly dangerous driving. That is patent from the CCTV footage.”
Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said detectives tried to stop Butler in Well Street on May 31 last year. They expected him to comply but instead he drove off, clipping one of their unmarked cars in the process.
A marked police car arrived at the scene as he tried to flee and was in a narrow section of the road close to the entrance to the old grandstand at St James Park when the collision occurred.
Butler was jailed for 18 months in November 2017 for a burglary at a house in Exeter which took place a week after the crash. He is currently in Exeter Prison.
Mr Gregory Gordon, defending, said Butler had been a successful inventor with his own company but his life had fallen apart after the break up of his marriage.
His abuse of cannabis increased as he lost contact with his family and he moved onto hard drugs. He has got clean while in jail and plans to start afresh on his release.
Mr Gordon said Butler did not realise that the first car he hit was an unmarked police vehicle because it was parked so close to him he could not see the blue lights on the bumper.
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