A DRUG driver who ploughed into a little girl and her mum on a zebra crossing has been jailed for one year and eight months.

Benjamin Hall, of Komberg Crescent, Canvey, hit the pair with his Connect van in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, on Halloween last year - causing the girl to be flung 12ft in the air, landing in the road “like a rag doll".

She was left with “catastrophic injuries” and was rushed to the Royal London Hospital. The girl still has facial scars and difficulties walking.

The 37-year-old admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while over the limit for cocaine and cannabis.

Basildon Crown Court heard the girl had been out trick-or-treating with her family.

Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, said a bus driver who witnessed the crash described the incident as “like watching a horror movie in slow motion”.

She said: “When the defendant’s vehicle approached the crossing he just didn’t stop. He hit the little girl, tossing her around 12ft in the air. The bus driver said the little girl landed like a rag doll on her back.

“She says the driver didn’t brake at all until after the impact. It was like he had not seen them and just drove through them.”

Although the girl’s mother was also injured and had to be taken to the hospital, Hall’s conviction did not take into account her injuries.

Hall was ten times the legal limit for cocaine and twice the limit for cannabis - but told police in interview he had not taken drugs for two years. He later claimed he had taken cocaine the previous weekend but thought it would be out of his system.

He told police: “I had gone out to have a shave. All I can remember is them on my screen. It’s terrible.”

Sentencing Hall, Judge Samantha Leigh said: “You said that if you had seen the family you would have stopped. You have had flashbacks, you have had difficulties sleeping and you haven’t driven since.

“You wake every day reliving the accident and struggling to come to terms with what you have done.” Hall was also disqualified for four years.