HALIFAX -- A Nova Scotia man described as the "worst of the worst" drunk drivers was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison.

Terry Lee Naugle had pleaded guilty to eight charges in connection with three drunk-driving incidents, between July 2019 and February 2020.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Jamie Campbell said the 15-year sentence was appropriate for a man with 71 prior convictions -- including 23 related to impaired driving and 15 for driving while prohibited -- a record the judge called "appalling."

"It is very much in the public interest that this matter be resolved in the way that it has and that Terry Naugle be sentenced to a very long time in jail," Campbell said during a hearing in Halifax, after accepting the joint sentencing recommendation.

The judge noted that Naugle, 62, has lung cancer and that his prognosis is not good. "He's not just a dying man, he appears to be a broken man who will likely never experience life outside of an institution. This is for him, in effect, a life sentence."

Campbell said Naugle would not have another opportunity to take someone's life "in his hands on the highway."

Naugle has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 4.

According to the agreed statement of facts that was read out in court by Crown attorney Melanie Perry, Naugle was caught driving a stolen vehicle Feb. 4 on Highway 107 in Porters Lake, N.S., and was arrested for suspected impaired driving.

Police found 87.5 grams of cocaine, an electronic scale and cigarettes without tax markers on them. Naugle was prohibited from driving at the time. A subsequent urine test turned up traces of cocaine and of other drugs including hydromorphone.

He was charged with impaired driving, driving while prohibited, possession of stolen property and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Perry said on July 16, 2019, Naugle was arrested in Dartmouth, N.S., after the SUV he was driving hit a car that had stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. The SUV sped off and was subsequently stopped by police. He was again arrested after performing poorly on a sobriety test and was charged with impaired driving and with driving while prohibited.

On Oct. 12, 2019, Perry said Naugle was stopped by military police in Eastern Passage, N.S., after he ran a red light and nearly collided with the officer's vehicle.

After Naugle refused to give his name or proof of identity, Perry said the officer called the RCMP and he was charged with driving while prohibited and with obstructing police.

"Mr. Naugle truly is the worst of the worst with respect to impaired driving," Perry told the judge. "Everyone using the roads in Nova Scotia is safer with Mr. Naugle in custody and that is why we are making the recommendation to you that we are making."

Naugle previously received an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence and a permanent driving prohibition in 2010 after pleading guilty to impaired driving. That sentence was appealed, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld it in an April 2011 decision.

Naugle, who appeared in court Tuesday via video link from the Springhill Institution, briefly acknowledged his current health troubles, saying he only had about six months to live and was "in pretty bad shape right now."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.