80mph driver is sent to jail
10:30am Thursday 12th September 2013 in Latest News
AN UNINSURED motorist who led police on a five-mile chase in the dead of night has been jailed for 14 months.
Daniel Bell was told by a judge that “this was as bad a piece of dangerous driving as can be imagined”, as he was also banned from the road for three years.
The 21-year-old jumped red lights, hit a patrol car and went round a roundabout the wrong way as officers chased him.
His bid to get away caused such a threat to life and limb that the pursuit was called off as it was unsafe to continue.
Rob Welling, prosecuting, told how the chase unfolded in the early hours of June 12.
He said shortly before 1am a police patrol passing through East Wichel saw a Vauxhall Astra. The driver did a U-turn and drove quickly away.
The officers checked the police national computer and found the vehicle had no MOT or insurance, and gave chase.
They caught up on Whitehill Way, put on the blue light, and the Astra slowed almost to a halt. Without warning the driver accelerated away at up to 70mph in the 40mph zone.
After crossing several roundabouts at speed the car went on to Mead Way, then Thamesdown Drive, again coming to a halt at lights with the junction with Garsington Drive.
One officer started to get out but the Astra sped off, its wing mirror clipping the patrol car door and causing the policeman to jump back to avoid injury.
The chase went round in circles on Garsington Drive, Oak-hurst Way and back on to Thamesdown Drive.
Bell jumped red lights and went at speeds of up to 50mph on streets with a 30mph limit.
Bell hared up Thamesdown Drive, going through three red lights within seconds, at speeds up to 68mph in the 40mph zone.
The car headed towards Blunsdon, going through another red light at 80mph and over the wrong side of a roundabout, when it was felt too dangerous to continue the chase.
Although the defendant handed himself in to the police the following day and accepted he was driving, he refused to answer questions when he was interviewed.
Bell, of Hatch Road, Stratton St Margaret, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
Matthew Rowcliffe, defending, said his client realised the potential for an accident was great and wished to apologise for what he had done.
He said his client lived at home with his parents and, although he was out of work, had a job interview lined up.
Jailing him, Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC said: “Nobody listening to the account of what you did and how you drove that night could not think that this was as bad a piece of dangerous driving as can be imagined.
“I accept no accident took place but that is more down to good fortune and the lateness of the hour.”
As well as imposing a 14-month jail term, he also banned him from the road until he has passed an extended retest.