Motorist jailed for road rage attack on police officer

A motorist who mowed down a police officer during a road rage rampage at a supermarket has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Police said Damien Price, 30, had already attacked and reversed into a couple after seeing red in a row over a one-way system at a branch of Sainsbury’s in Pinhoe, Exeter

He then drove into Sergeant Alex Howden as he tried to stop the suspect fleeing the busy car park – sending him flying into the air and breaking his leg.

Damien Price had already run down one motorist when he drove at Sgt Alex Howden (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA).
Damien Price had already run down one motorist when he drove at Sgt Alex Howden – breaking his leg (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

Price was pulled from his vehicle and detained by members of the public before he was arrested on March 12 this year.

He also bit another officer on the arm while in the back of a police car.

Much of the incident was caught on camera – with shocking dashcam footage released by Devon and Cornwall Police to highlight the dangers faced by officers.

Price, of Russet Avenue, Exeter, admitted two counts of dangerous driving and causing Sgt Howden grievous bodily harm.

He pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to a man and the attempted bodily harm of a woman. Both victims, who are husband and wife, are aged in their 60s.

Price also admitted biting Pc Nicholas Weston twice on the bicep.

Damien Price was jailed for six and a half years for a road rage attack in Exeter (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA).
Damien Price was jailed for six and a half years for a road rage attack in Exeter (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

He was jailed for six-and-a-half years by a judge at Exeter Crown Court. Price will also serve five years on licence and be banned from driving for 10 years.

Price had entered the car park in his Ford Fiesta when he encountered a Nissan heading in the wrong direction on the one-way system outside the store.

He shouted out of his window at the couple in the car and refused to move to allow them to pass, only for the vehicle to manoeuvre around him.

An enraged Price then reversed at speed, got out of his car, took the keys from the ignition of the Nissan and threw them away.

He then punched the man in the face through the driver’s-side window before getting back into his Fiesta and driving off.

Price the stopped and reversed at speed into the couple’s car – knocking the husband and wife, who had exited their vehicle, to the floor. Both suffered cuts and bruises.

He then sped around the car park and came to a halt near recycling bins as members of the public tried to stop him leaving.

Sgt Howden was heading back to the force’s HQ when initial reports of a hit-and-run in the Sainsbury’s car park came.

He was the closest unit and within minutes of arriving at the scene was lying injured on the ground.

Sgt Howden had asked Price for his keys before the offender started his engine and drove off.

Price picked up speed, hit a shopping trolley and then smashed into the officer as he motioned for the driver to stop.

Sgt Howden suffered a broken leg, a head injury and bruising. His recovery is expected to take more than a year.

Sgt Alex Howden suffered a borken leg when he was run down by Damien Price at a supermarket car park in Exeter (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA).
Sgt Alex Howden suffered a broken leg when he was run down by Damien Price at a supermarket car park in Exeter (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA).

Speaking afterwards, Sgt Howden, a police officer of nearly 22 years, said: “I don’t hold any animosity towards this individual.

“The decisions he made on that day have had, and will continue to have, enormous consequences for him.

“I’m very fortunate my injury wasn’t far more severe than it was.”

Sgt Howden also praised the members of the public who helped at the scene and came to his aid.

“I genuinely couldn’t have had a better reaction from the people there, who were so kind and considerate,” he said.

“Their immediate actions were incredibly positive.”

Detective Constable Kerry Murch, who led the investigation, said: “Price used his car as a weapon to target Sgt Howden and other members of the public in an incident that bore some similarities to the heart-breaking circumstances in which Pc Andrew Harper was sadly killed in Thames Valley in 2019.

“This incident could all too easily have resulted in a more tragic conclusion.”

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