A Victorian policeman came perilously close to being killed when a dangerous driver swerved at high speed towards him as he stood on the side of a Victorian highway.
Sergeant Anthony French was trying to stop Andrew Hutchison as he sped down the regional road at 130 km/h.
Other police had been successful in attempts to damage Hutchison's car with throw sticks to deflate the tyres, but they hadn't deterred his erratic behaviour or high speed.
Sgt French was standing a metre from his car when Hutchison swerved at him on the Surf Coast Highway near Geelong in 2018. He knew he had to act quickly or be killed and ran behind his car.
Hutchison braked but crashed into the police car at 98 km/h, forcing the vehicle into Sgt French and throwing him a "significant distance" into the air, County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said on Friday.
Police air wing captured footage of the crash.
"In blunt terms, it was truly horrific," the judge said while sentencing Hutchison to at least three years in jail.
Sgt French has fully recovered from his physical injuries - miraculously limited to a fractured foot and finger, and bruising.
But he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, is hyper-vigilant and is embarrassed about becoming easily emotional since the incident, in which he firmly believed he was about to die.
Judge Mullaly said the life of the dedicated and enthusiastic officer changed for the worse because he was bravely doing his duty.
The job took courage and he was to be commended, he said.
Hutchison, who appeared by video link from jail, became agitated as the sentence was read.
Prison officers had to take him from the room to cool down after he said he was going to "destroy things".
The judge said the 23-year-old's family was troubled by his offending.
He is of low intelligence, bordering on an intellectual disability.
Hutchison said he was severely depressed and suicidal on the day of the incident. He had a jerry can of petrol in the car and police had tried to negotiate with him.
He too is diagnosed with PTSD and the judge said it was plain his mental health was still fragile.
Hutchison has been physically abused in prison and stood over.
Judge Mullaly said it was grave to sentence a first-time offender to prison, but his actions required it.
He ordered Hutchison serve at least three years of a four-year-and-nine-month sentence.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Australian Associated Press