A "drug-addled" driver whose actions left two police officers in hospital with multiple injuries will spend at least three years and four months in prison.
Ammar Najjar, 38, was sentenced in the County Court on Friday to a maximum of five years' imprisonment for incidents that took place on July 6, 2018.
In the early evening of that day, the two police officers went to check a Honda Civic parked beside the Calder Highway at Kangaroo Flat, as it had been under police observation earlier that day and was believed to be stolen.
Najjar and his passenger Shari Oliver tried to flee the scene, but one of the officers reached the car before they could drive away.
A struggle for control of the vehicle ensued, which saw the car roll across two lanes of the highway as the officer tried to stop Najjar and Oliver leaving the scene.
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The second officer tried to use pepper spray and a Taser to subdue the pair after she saw her colleague being punched, but she was struck by the open door of the moving car and thrown into a tree.
Najjar and Oliver eventually got the car back onto the highway, but the first officer was still hanging inside the vehicle.
He was forced to throw himself from the moving vehicle as it gained speed, and roll out of the way of oncoming traffic.
He suffered severe rib and back soreness, cuts and abrasions, while his colleague was left with a fractured wrist, cuts to her head, and some minor injuries.
Najjar and Oliver were arrested that night about 20 kilometres from the scene.
Najjar tested positive for methamphetamine. His licence was suspended at the time, and he had entered into bail just two days before.
Earlier that day, he had also failed to stop when police tried to pull him over in Bendigo.
Najjar pleaded guilty this year to two charges of recklessly exposing an emergency worker to risk by driving, two charges of recklessly causing injury, failing to stop for police, failing to render assistance after an accident, driving while exceeding the prescribed concentration of drugs, two charges of driving while suspended, and two charges of committing an indictable offence on bail.
"Your offending in exposing both victims, in this instance police officers, to risk of their safety by the way you were driving a motor vehicle on the highway, in all the circumstances, is clearly a serious example of what is self-evidently a serious offence," Judge Paul Lacava said on Friday.
He said offending against police officers was becoming more common.
"Being a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in our community. Some might say it is a job that gets harder every day, especially when police officers have to deal with drug-addled offenders like you and Ms Oliver," Judge Lacava said.
He said Najjar was lucky the officers were not hurt more seriously.
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Najjar was "clearly the principal offender", Judge Lacava said, and could have prevented the incident occurring.
He said the police officers would carry it with them for the rest of their lives.
"Both have suffered greatly as a result of the conduct of both yourself and Ms Oliver," Judge Lacava said.
"They have each suffered not only physical injury, but emotionally and psychologically."
He noted Najjar had a lengthy criminal history that included injury and driving offences.
Judge Lacava did not accept a submission that Najjar was experiencing a psychotic illness at the time, but instead concluded the offending was most likely the result of his drug use.
Najjar had used methamphetamine, Xanax and Seroquel.
Judge Lacava said Najjar's prospects of rehabilitation were "bleak", but noted his developing years were "not easy", he had suffered an assault more recently, and he had a cognitive difficulty.
He took into account Najjar's early guilty plea, and accepted he was now remorseful.
In addition to imprisonment, Najjar was fined $250 for the drug-driving offence, and banned from driving for three years from the date of the offences.
But for his guilty pleas, he would have faced up to seven and a half years in prison.
Najjar's co-offender Shari Oliver was sentenced earlier this year to nine months' imprisonment and a two-year community corrections order.