Man jailed after smashing into police car, causing havoc

A SYDNEY man who drove into a police car and caused a crash between two other vehicles in the Clarence Valley has been sentenced to two years jail.

Joseph Cowen, 43, appeared at Grafton Local Court via AVL today after pleading guilty to numerous charges including menacing driving, mid-range drink driving, speeding and goods in custody.

The charges related to a series of pursuits which began at4.36pm on October 17, when Traffic and Highway Patrol officers attempted to stop a Ford 'Ka' travelling north on the Pacific Hwy at Glenugie for speeding. When it failed to stop, a pursuit was initiated. Police said Cowen was driving erratically and reached speeds of up to 160kmh.

The pursuit was terminated south of Bom Bom when he crossed the double lines and travelled about 400m on the wrong side of the road, uphill towards a blind crest.

About five minutes later, police drove upon a crash involving a semitrailer and a sedan.

According to police, it was clear the vehicles had collided after taking evasive action when Cowen overtook a heavy vehicle on the incorrect side of the road. Luckily, no one was injured.

The pursuit with the Ford Ka restarted at Ulmarra at5.10pm, when the accused again drove onto the wrong side of the highway towards a stationary police vehicle on the road's shoulder, which reversed in an attempt to avoid a collision. The Ford grazed the bullbar of the car before continuing.

Cowen was arrested at Brushgrove a short time later, having ditched his vehicle on the Pacific Hwy at Cowper and hidden near a dwelling at a nearby property. He was taken to Grafton police station where he recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 0.093. Police also located a set of four brand new tyres in the car, believed to be stolen.

According to court facts, the accused told police after he was arrested that, "you should have stopped, all I wanted was for you guys to stop chasing me."

Cowen was sentenced to two years imprisonment each for driving dangerously and not stop-police pursuit, 18 months for driving while disqualified, 12 months for menacing driving and nine months for mid-range drink driving, to be served concurrently from October 17, 2015.

He was also convicted without penalty on four other offences, and has been disqualified from driving for at least two years.

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