Drug-fuelled journey: driver wins appeal

A Unanderra man who crashed into a supermarket at Kempsey with his two young children and partner in the car had subjected his family to a terrifying trip from Wollongong, a court has heard.

The family, which cannot be identified for legal reasons, left Wollongong on the afternoon of September 27 last year to travel to the Gold Coast for a weekend away.

However, the trip soon turned sour as the man, high on illicit drugs, began to verbally abuse the woman over claims she'd cheated on him.

The argument turned physical as the man pulled the car over, locked the doors, and began punching the woman in the face and body, causing her to drift in and out of consciousness.

The man continued driving north, stopping for fuel at a service station north of Port Macquarie.

However, he mistakenly filled the petrol car with diesel, causing it to begin "playing up" moments after he left.

He then drove at speeds of more than 150km/h along the highway, believing he could "burn the diesel up" and avoid ruining his motor.

Witnesses reported seeing the car weaving in and out of traffic, and overtaking on double unbroken lines before slowing near south Kempsey. Witnesses then saw the man lose control of the car and crash into the supermarket.

The woman and two children were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Police who spoke to the man at the accident site said he was showing "classic signs" of illicit drug use, including having extremely bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils and "fidgety" behaviour.

Officers searching the man's car after the accident discovered a shotgun under the seat, along with boxes of ammunition and drug paraphernalia.

The man was arrested and taken to Kempsey police station where he was charged with multiple drug, firearm, driving and assault charges.

He was sentenced last November to 18 months' jail, with a non-parole period of 12 months, but appealed the decision.

During the appeal hearing in Wollongong District Court on Friday, the man said he was remorseful for his actions and had been taking part in a stringent rehabilitation program in jail especially designed for young offenders.

"I really wish things didn't end up the way they did," he said.

Judge David Frearson said the man's actions were "atrocious" but agreed to reduce his minimum prison term to eight months.

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