Drug driver from Bishop Auckland hit tree trying to flee police

AN unlicensed teenage driver’s attempt to evade police had devastating consequences for him and his two passengers.

Durham Crown Court heard that Patrick Williams, 19, who had taken cannabis, was driving an MG7S which came to police attention as the front seat passenger was not wearing a seat belt, on Sawmills Lane, Brandon, at 4pm on March 4, this year.

Rachel Butt, prosecuting, said as the police vehicle turned and its blue lights and siren were deployed, Williams accelerated and overtook vehicles on the wrong side of the road, causing an oncoming car to make an emergency stop.

Emerging from a traffic-calming chicane, Williams lost control of the MG, as its rear fish-tailed.

It narrowly missed a car, before colliding with a tree, near a bus stop.

A passenger was seen fleeing from the rear of the badly damaged vehicle, while the driver’s door opened and Williams fell to the ground.

Miss Butt said the front seat passenger was screaming for help as his legs were trapped against the dashboard.

Firefighters arriving at the scene put out smoke and flames, before cutting the front seat passenger free.

Williams gave two blood samples at hospital, confirming the presence of cannabinoids three-and-a-half times above the limit to drive.

Miss Butt said Williams suffered a broken leg, his front seat passenger fractured both legs and the rear passenger had a fractured shoulder.

She told the court neither passenger was prepared to assist the prosecution.

Williams gave “no comment” replies when interviewed by police, in July.

But, the defendant, now 20, of East Parade, Bishop Auckland, admitted dangerous driving, drug driving, and without a full licence or insurance at a recent hearing.

The court heard he has a previous conviction for no insurance and licence.

Amrit Jandoo, for Williams, who has underlying ADHD, said he only bought the vehicle days earlier and was driving with his bother and a close friend but lost control through inexperience.

Imposing a 12-month custodial sentence, Judge James Adkin said his previous motoring conviction should have proved, “a shot across the bows”, for Williams.

He said the extent of damage to the car showed how lucky Williams and his passengers were that their injuries were not more serious.

Judge Adkin also banned Williams from driving for 18 months.

The Northern Echo | Durham