Drug addict jailed for driving while on ketamine
12:58pm Monday 11th June 2012 in News
A DRUG addict who caused a horrific head on crash on a busy main road near Northleach because he was 'high as a kite' on Ketamine has been jailed for six months.
At the time of the collision, Ian Tuthill, 27, was already on bail for an earlier offence of driving under the influence of the horse tranquilliser Ketamine, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
Tuthill, of The Crescent, Horton Road, Gloucester, who was described by the prosecution as 'selfish and immature,' was told by a judge that he could easily have caused one or more deaths.
"You were on a major arterial road high as a kite so that for several minutes you were either on the wrong side of the road, on a layby or up on the offside verge endangering members of the public who were driving perfectly lawfully towards you," said the judge.
"You could have killed one if not more people at any moment during that driving.
"You were a complete and utter menace on the road at that time. "
As well as the jail term the judge banned Tuthill from driving for four years.
Tuthill had pleaded guilty to driving dangerously on the A40 at Northleach and driving while unfit through drugs on Tuesday December 13 last year.
Julian Kesner, prosecuting, said it was an aggravating feature that Tuthill was at that time on bail for driving under the influence of Ketamine in Oxford.
Mr Kesner said it was probably thanks Andrew Dyke, another driver following Tuthill along the A40, that something more serious did not happen.
For Mr Dyke was so alarmed at the way Tuthill was driving in front of him that he started flashing oncoming cars while calling police on his mobile and giving them a running commentary.
The van into which Tuthill eventually crashed his Vauxhall Astra had thankfully slowed and started to take evasive action as a result of Mr Dyke's warning, the prosecutor said.
"The van driven by Mr Gheorghe Vlad had thanfully slowed down, which reduced the seriousness of the impact," he said.
Mr Kesner read a statement from Mr Dyke in which he described how he was driving towards Cheltenham at 9.20pm on Tuesday December 13 and started following Tuthill's Astra.
The Astra increased speed and went out of sight around a corner. When he caught up with it again it had drifted into the offside lane and onto the grass verge.
The car narrowly missed an oncoming coach and Mr Dyke saw the coach driver with a 'horrified' expression on his face.
"The defendant continued along the offside grass verge with debris flying everywhere," Mr Kesner said.
"He then went into a layby on the offside and drove through it. Mr Dyke had by now assumed the driver was asleep at the wheel.
"But he then woke up because the Astra suddenly returned to the correct side of the road.
"Mr Dyke telephoned 999 and gave effectively a running commentary to the police.
"The defendant slowed down to almost stationary before speeding up again to 60-70mph. While he was doing this he went to the wrong side of the road and stayed there for three to four minutes prior to the accident happening.
"He was doing 50-60mph around a number of blind bends on the wrong side of the road but thankfully there were no accidents at that stage.
"The road straightened and Mr Dyke dropped 200 metres behind. He was flashing his lights at the vehicles coming in the opposite direction.
"He then saw a van coming the other way. It was being driven by Mr Vlad. He saw the lights and slowed down from 50mph to 40mph. It was then that the collision happened.
"Both drivers were trapped in their respective vehicles and had to be cut free. Mr Vlad suffered injuries to both wrists, whiplash and chest pain.
"The defendant told a firefighter 'I'm starting to trip.'"
Ketamine was found in a blood specimen taken from Tuthill at a level of 0.14 mgs per litre.
"The drugs had affected him to such an extent that he was liable to kill someone at any moment while on the road," said the judge.
David Martin, defending, said: "He wants to apologise sincerely to the driver of the van into which he crashed. He recognises it could have been much worse. It is hoped Mr Vlad makes a full recovery.
"It must have been horrifying for him to see a car coming at him without any attempt to get out of the way."
Tuthill had been addicted to ketamine at the time and could not get himself off it, said Mr Martin.
"But he is off it now. He has stayed off it and he is determined to stay off it."
Jailing Tuthill the judge said it was a severely aggravating feature that he had ignored the 'shot across your bows' when he was arrested for driving under the influence of Ketamine in Oxford.