A traumatised ex-soldier used his van to twice ram a family car on the A38 after a road rage incident – leaving children screaming in terror.
Former Royal Engineer Adam Alexander, aged 32, hit the Vauxhall Zafira so hard it was lifted off of two wheels at Marsh Mills in Plymouth.
A court heard that the other driver, who had three children in the car, had shouted at him because he had nearly caused a crash on the A385 from Totnes.
Alexander’s damaged Renault Kangoo blew its tyre as he drove away – but he continued for miles on its rim with sparks flying.
The roofer was eventually cornered but pulled out a knife and kicked a man in the chest, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
A judge said that his driving that day had been “appalling”.
Recorder Jo Martin added: “This must have been a terrible experience for this family. I have no doubt that they must have been very shaken by what you did.
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“I have been watching you through this hearing and you have been hanging your head in shame. I accept the remorse that you feel for your actions on that day.”
She accepted that he had complex medical needs including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Recorder Martin handed Alexander a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with probation’s supervisory Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
Alexander was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay the owner £235 to cover the excess he paid to his insurers.
The court heard the Zafira was written off.
Alexander, of The Yeolands, Stoke Gabriel near Torbay, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, possession of a bladed article and common assault on June 25 last year.
Judith Constable, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Stacey’s van was following the Zafira on the winding single-lane A385 from the direction of Totnes that afternoon.
She added that the father, with three children in the car, saw the Renault pull right in behind him.
Miss Constable said that Stacey suddenly overtook him and swerved close to his front bumper, forcing him to brake sharply.
The barrister said the Zafira driver watched as the van pulled out again on a bend to go around a car ahead.
Miss Constable said that an oncoming vehicle nearly hit the Kangoo and all four vehicles came to a stop.
The court heard that the Zafira and the van joined the A38 and headed towards Plymouth.
Miss Constable said the father pulled up alongside Stacey at Marsh Mills and shouted: “I have got my kids in the back, you w******.”
She added: “The defendant turned and rammed his car. Everyone inside the car started screaming or shouting. The Kangoo pulled out to ram the car for a second time, causing it to lift on its side.”
The barrister said that Stacey drove away but his tyre blew and he carried on driving on its rim with sparks flying on the A38.
Miss Constable added that the van turned off at the St Budeaux bypass, followed by several concerned drivers as others called the police.
The court heard that Stacey finally got out of the vehicle at Grassendale Avenue, North Prospect, with a six-inch blade in his hand.
Miss Constable said that he did not threaten anyone with the weapon but did kick a man in the chest when he tried to calm him down.
Michael Brown, for Alexander, said that it was in fact a tool he used for cutting tiles in his work as a roofer.
He added that his client suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an unstable personality disorder.
The barrister said the defendant had joined the Royal Engineers at the age of 17. He had both suffered injuries and gone through traumatic incidents.
Mr Brown said he had sought help but his inquiries had “fallen through the cracks over some lengthy period”.