A disabled driver who under the influence of cocaine abandoned an injured cyclist after they collided has been given a chance to reform.
Mark Buery was facing a jail sentence for dangerous driving and other offences, as well as breaches of four suspended sentences.
But a judge decided that having spent seven-and-a-half months in custody, the 43-year-old could be freed under an 18-month community order.
“I am persuaded, exceptionally in this case, to give you one more try,” he said.
Buery was banned from driving for three years and will have to take an extended retest before being allowed back on the road. A drug rehabilitation requirement was made for six months.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the cyclist came out of an alleyway in Deal on March 7 last year and collided with Buery’s car.
He stopped, put the injured cyclist in the recovery position and then drove about a mile home with his windscreen shattered.
Police reconstructed the accident and decided neither of them was to blame, but Buery was charged with dangerous driving because his windscreen was “absolutely opaque” when he drove off.
Prosecutor Daniel Benjamin said Buery, who blew more than £1 million compensation from an industrial accident that caused the loss of a leg, had been acquitted at Chelmsford Crown Court of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and admitted possessing a single wrap of heroin.
He was in breach of an eight-month suspended sentence imposed at Canterbury Crown Court in January for allowing his home in Canada Road, Walmer, to be used for supplying drugs.
“After your leg was amputated and you damaged the other leg, you have come back to society an addict..." - Judge Julian Smith
As well as dangerous driving, drug driving, failing to stop and having no insurance cover, he admitted stealing petrol, drink and DVDs.
The court was told Buery lost his leg in 2008 while he was working as a JCB telescopic handler on a construction site. He was in hospital for the best part of a year.
Mr Benjamin said Buery had 24 previous convictions for 43 offences.
Judge Julian Smith said the probation service had been ”somewhat underwhelmed” by Buery’s efforts in the past.
“For someone who had a massive trauma in the industrial accident he suffered, he has sufficient mobility to drive, albeit illegally, and to continue to drive and take drugs,” said the judge.
“This is a man who is keen now to address his drug problem. I am not naive about it. None of us can afford to be. I wanted to see if there was anything more positive, rather than imposing suspended sentences and consecutive sentences.”
Passing sentence, Judge Smith said: “This is a man who should not be near a car at all. He took the extraordinary decision to drive home with his car badly damaged.”
Suspended sentences would normally be activated, he said, if breached.
But the total sentence would mean that Buery would only stay in prison for a few weeks, and then released without any treatment for his addiction.
'He can turn his life around again. Rehabilitation will help him. Only he can do this...' - Lucy Luttman, defending
“You have been a hard-working, diligent member of society,” he continued. “But for the catastrophic accident, I have little doubt you would have led a law-abiding life.
“After your leg was amputated and you damaged the other leg, you have come back to society an addict. You have since been a nuisance – a persistent offender.
“There is a prospect of rehabilitation. You have insight into your addiction and have stayed drug free in prison.”
The judge warned Buery if he breached any orders again, he would be returned to prison.
Lucy Luttman, defending, said Buery had served the equivalent of a 15-month sentence on remand.
“In effect, he was a hopeless drug addict,” she said.
“He stayed drug-free until 2008, when his life was completely turned around. He had this horrific accident at work which lost him a leg.
“He left hospital after 12 months with quite a serious morphine addiction. He had a payout and was able to finance himself.
"He drifted once again into addiction. It was only when the money ran out in 2014 he started to offend again.
“He can turn his life around again. Rehabilitation will help him. Only he can do this.”