Somerset man jailed after driving military truck into police – News21USA

A man has been sentenced to two years in prison after driving a two-and-a-half-tonne military-style truck into police vehicles.

Geoff Marshall, 41, from Norton Fitzwarren, caused more than £300,000 worth of damage when he ran over a dozen cars after a row with his partner.

Judge Edward Burgess KC said he had been “extremely reckless”.

Marshall already had several charges, including assault by beating.

Marshall had already pleaded guilty in September to several charges, including assault by beating.

In a statement, Marshall said he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions, which were the result of a mental breakdown.

Taunton Crown Court was told that Marshall will serve half of a two-year sentence in custody, with time already spent in prison being deducted from his total time in prison.

Marshall has also been disqualified from driving for two years and will have to take a lengthy test.

The incident began on September 10 with an argument between Marshall and his partner over text messages on his mobile phone.

Jack Barros, prosecuting, said that, fearing for her safety, the woman left the property and called the police.

When officers arrived at his home on Station Road, they found the defendant holding a chainsaw over his head before getting behind the wheel of the 1958 M35 truck.

The 41-year-old then drove the green flatbed truck through a roadblock, destroying three Avon and Somerset Police vehicles and damaging many other cars parked nearby, causing damage totaling £310,000.

Marshall was only arrested after police negotiators persuaded him not to jump from a bridge over the M5 motorway, Taunton Crown Court heard.

Police body cameras and mobile phone footage filmed by neighbours, shown to the court, recorded Marshall hitting police vehicles in the truck as he fled the scene.

Barros said: “A police officer was inside one of the vehicles at the time and says the impact of the truck caused it to spin.

“Understandably, he says he was absolutely petrified by what he saw happen.”

Damaged car crushed by truck
Vehicles, including police cars, were damaged during the incident.

In the video, officers could be heard yelling at residents to get inside their homes as the truck approached them and ordering Marshall to stop.

The accused drove away with the truck and stopped near the M5, where he abandoned the vehicle, climbed onto a bridge crossing the motorway and threatened to take his own life.

Police negotiators managed to convince him and he was later arrested.

In a victim impact statement, a police officer said: “I have never been as scared as I was during this incident.

“I seriously thought they were going to crush me and kill me.”

Military truck driven towards a police car
Police vehicles and private cars were damaged in the incident in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton.

The 41-year-old had already admitted at a previous hearing to one count of assault by beating, 11 counts of criminal damage and one count of dangerous driving.

Marshall, who was not represented, told the court in mitigation that he suffered significant mental health problems as a result of difficulties in his marriage.

He said: “I never intended to harm anyone and I never intended to do any harm either.

“I am deeply ashamed of my actions that day.”

He added that his actions were due to “despair, panic and terror during this crisis” and that “there was never any malice.”

‘Very serious damage’

Judge Edward Burgess KC said: “It is clear to me that you are genuinely embarrassed and, in your words, ‘deeply embarrassed’, as you now reflect on how you behaved that day.

“I accept that you were in a desperate state mentally and emotionally with suicidal thoughts and it caused you to act in a way that was totally out of character.”

Judge Burgess added that he thought Marshall intended to cause “very serious harm”.

He added: “The reality is that his behavior was extremely reckless, at the very least creating a very high risk of injury, if not death, to others.”

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