A DANGEROUS driver who nearly killed a senior police officer after sending his car hurtling down a bank towards a fast flowing river has been jailed.

Detective Superintendent Nicholas Wilkie’s vehicle was forced off the road by Paul Hill and only just stopped short of ending up in the water after hitting a tree.

Newport Crown Court heard how the officer admitted to being petrified and confessed he had feared he was going to drown.

Hill had taken heroin before driving and was “weaving in and out of rush hour traffic” on the A4042 near the McDonald’s roundabout in Pontypool.


Prosecutor Thomas Stanway said the dangerous driving continued as he travelled in a Ford Fiesta on the A472 in Hafodyrynys.

He told the court: “Daniel Williams, who was driving behind the defendant, described him as being all over the road and swerving into the opposite carriageway.

“Mr Williams said the driver in front was either on the phone or drunk.

“The defendant’s vehicle hit a kerb and he nearly collided with an oncoming vehicle.

“He then hit Detective Superintendent Wilkie’s car and forced it off the road, causing it to veer down a bank towards a river.

“The police officer braced himself and it was only by striking a tree that he didn’t go into the water.

“Mr Williams described the defendant’s driving as shocking and said it was only through sheer luck he didn’t have a head-on collision and kill someone.”

Reading Detective Superintendent Wilkie’s victim statement, Mr Stanway said: “I was petrified. I could see the water coming towards me just before I struck a tree and stopped.

“I was fearful of being trapped in the car, of being unable to get out and drowning.

“The river was quite high and fast flowing.

“The relief I felt was overwhelming at how close I was to going in.

“I feel relief that I have survived but I know it was only through luck.”

When he was arrested at the scene, the defendant admitted to police he had taken heroin within the last 24 hours and “his speech was slurred”.

Hill, 37, of Commercial Street, Abertillery, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on March 9, 2020.

He also admitted a separate offence of failing to surrender.

The defendant had 24 previous convictions for 48 offences, including drink driving and driving whilst disqualified.

Jeffrey Jones, representing Hill, said in mitigation how his client had pleaded guilty.

He added: “The defendant is remorseful and sorry for what he’s done.”

Judge Daniel Williams told Hill: “This was a shocking incident. Happily, the officer has recovered from his injuries.

“It was frightening for him as he was hurtling towards the river.

“This was all because of your selfish and outrageous driving.”

He was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving three years and seven months.