A LINCOLNSHIRE man who forced his family’s car off the road into a ditch after threatening to kill them has been jailed for two and half years.
Alcoholic James Grogan, 41, grabbed the steering wheel of his estranged wife’s car after shouting out “prepare to die.”
Lincoln Crown Court heard Mrs Grogan and the couple’s two children, aged 11 and 14, all suffered cuts and bruises after the vehicle left the road in Marsh Lane, South Somercoates, and narrowly missed a tree.
But passing sentence Judge Sean Morris told Grogan it was only sheer luck that the car did not burst into flames.
Judge Morris said: “Your wife fearing that you were drinking yourself into trouble collected you from a pub with the children in the car.
“What you did then was simply unforgivable and you could have killed them all.
“You shouted ‘prepare to die’, grabbed the steering the wheel and the car went into the ditch despite the best efforts of your wife.
“It is only sheer luck that nobody broke their neck and it is only sheer luck that the car did not burst into flames.”
The court heard Grogan grabbed the steering wheel of the car after being told he was not welcome at his 12-year-old daughter’s birthday because of his drinking and aggressive behaviour.
Stuart Lody, prosecuting, told the court Grogan’s marriage had collapsed when he turned to alcohol at the age of 39.
Mr Lody said Grogan continued to drink after being bailed for the motoring offence and was re-arrested after he punched a female neighbour in Louth.
After being re-bailed to an address in Skegness, Grogan made an imtimidating phonecall to the former neighbour in which he warned her “it only takes 15 minutes to get to Louth.”
In mitigation the court was told Grogan had stayed free of alcohol since being remanded into custody.
Grogan, of Lumley Avenue, Skegness, admitted charges of making threats to kill, causing a danger to road users, common assault and witness intimidation between September and December 2011.