hi-bc-111008-drunk-driving

The judge noted Stephen Daniel Polley had an extensive history of driving while impaired. (CBC) (File Photo)

A chronic drunk driver has been sentenced to five years in prison for an accident two years ago on the Trans-Canada Highway near Oxford, N.S.

Stephen Daniel Polley will also not be allowed to drive for 20 years after he is released from prison.

The decision by provincial court Judge Paul Scovil was released on Friday, following a trial last summer.

At his trial, the court heard how Polley and a co-worker finished a construction job in Moncton on May 29, 2010.  They started drinking shortly after lunch and drank alcohol for most of the afternoon.  

The pair started driving back to their homes in Nova Scotia. Polley was behind the wheel, even though he was prohibited from driving because of a previous conviction.

In his decision, judge Scovil wrote: "The driving by Mr. Polley, as described by witnesses, was nothing short of horrendous."  

Witnesses described Polley weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed and placing himself, his passenger and other motorists in imminent harm.

"That no one was killed or injured during the course of Mr. Polley's driving can be described as nothing short of a miracle," Scovil wrote.

The crown had been asking for a sentence of up to nine years. Polley's lawyer argued he should serve around two years. The judge settled on five.

Polley has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1991.

As Judge Scovil noted, "while not all of Mr. Polley's record is significant, the four prior impaired driving, three refusals of the breathalyser and eight driving while suspended charges are of significance."

In addition to his prison sentence and driving ban, a sample of Polley's DNA will be placed in a national criminal database.