A psychotic  drug user who stabbed a high-ranking policeman as  the officer tried to ring triple-0 to get help for the man has been jailed for a minimum of two years.

The seriously injured Senior Sergeant David Reither also rang his wife because he was not sure he would survive.

County Court judge Gerard Mullaly said Senior Sergeant Reither had pulled over on the Midland Highway at Batesford, near Geelong, after Damien Power had suddenly pulled the handbrake of his girlfriend’s car, forcing the car to spin 180 degrees, narrowly missing other cars.

Power, 24, who had spent the previous three days in a psychiatric ward after using the drug ice (crystal methamphetamine), believed there had been a creature in the car and he needed to get out.

When Senior Sergeant Reither was calling triple-0,  Power stabbed him four times before running off into a paddock.

Senior Sergeant Reither, who has been a police officer for 26 years, was airlifted to the Alfred hospital, where it was discovered he was suffering from massive internal bleeding. The amount of blood in his chest cavity caused his left lung to collapse.

Judge Mullaly said the senior police officer’s health had been ‘‘perilous’’ but he recovered and was released from hospital on August 28 last year, seven days after the attack.

Senior Sergeant Reither told the judge he had suffered significant pain and anxiety while in hospital and had ongoing nerve and scar tissue problems.

He said he was glad he phoned his wife before collapsing after being stabbed because he feared she was going to be a widow and their son an orphan.

Senior Sergeant Reither, who has since returned to duty, described the attack as ‘‘every police officer’s nightmare’’ and told how he had feelings of vulnerability for months afterwards.

Judge Mullaly praised Senior Sergeant Reither’s courage, saying he was plainly a brave and dedicated officer who was to be commended for the dangerous job he performed to protect the community.

Power, of Grovedale, who pleaded guilty to four charges including intentionally cause serious injury and reckless conduct endangering a person, was jailed for four years and eight months with a non-parole period of two years.

The judge said Power’s family and friends considered him a quiet, gentle young man with a lot of potential beforehe made the disastrous decision to try the drug ice.

He said Power’s grip on reality fell away when using the infamous drug.

Power had been working as a kitchen hand in a West Geelong cafe on August 18 when he threatened other staff with a hunting knife and told them to get out of the kitchen.

When police were called Power told the two officers he wanted them to shoot him.

Powere was restrained and taken to a psychiatric ward, where he was found to be in the grip of an acute mental illness.

He was released three days later and picked up by his girlfriend. They were later driving on the Midland Highway before Power stabbed Senior Sergeant Reither.

Judge Mullaly said Power’s moral culpability over the stabbing had to be seen as on a lower scale because of his drug-induced psychosis.

The gravity of offending would normally have warranted a long jail sentence but there were mitigating circumstances and aspects of the case that made it ‘‘out of the ordinary’’, given Power had suffered a significant but temporary mental illness, the judge said.

While it was Power’s decision to use ice, he was now drug-free since being held in prison after his arrest and his chances of rehabilitation were strong.

The judge said Power was remorseful and had sent a letter of apology to Senior Sergeant Reither.