A man who drove an American military-style truck at several police vehicles as he tried to evade arrest has been jailed for two years.
Geoff Marshall, of Station Road, Norton Fitzwarren, was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court (sitting at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court) today (Friday 10 November).
The 41-year-old admitted one count of assault by beating, 11 counts of criminal damage and one count of dangerous driving in connection with a series of incidents in Norton Fitzwarren on Sunday 10 September.
Police were called to an address on Station Road at 16:20 by a woman who feared for her safety.
When officers arrived, Marshall attempted to make off from the scene, driving his 1958 M35 truck into police vehicles, before reversing into the property, causing significant structural damage to it.
Officers tried to break the truck’s window to remove him from the vehicle.
He threatened the officers with a chainsaw and drove the two-ton vehicle through multiple police vehicles before colliding with five other unoccupied vehicles and a lamppost.
Marshall then drove to an M5 overbridge where he climbed over the wrong side of the barrier. He was later arrested when officers talked him back over the barrier.
Judge Edward Burgess handed Marshall a two-year custodial sentence and a two-year driving disqualification.
He accepted Marshall was ‘deeply ashamed’ and ‘remorseful’, but described the defendant’s actions as ‘extremely reckless’ that had a high chance of causing injury or death to officers.
Detective inspector Claire Millington said:
“Through his actions Marshall caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to police vehicles, private vehicles and property.
Some of the vehicles he damaged have been completely written off while repairs need to be made to buildings, street furniture and the motorway bridge.
His behaviour not only affected the ability for the police to respond to emergency calls on the day in question but caused significant disruption to his neighbours and those using the motorway, which was closed for a short time.
Members of the public and police officers feared for their safety, and it is only through the efforts of officers that no-one was seriously injured.
I commend the bravery of my colleagues who attended on that day.
Their selfless decisions to place themselves in harm’s way, and make repeated attempts to stop the vehicle saw them prioritise the public’s safety.
Regardless of whether he intended to cause others harm or not, Marshall must now pay a significant price for his reckless and dangerous actions.”