Learner in high-speed police chase ‘panicked’

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A LEARNER driver who became involved in a high-speed chase with police before crashing a car into a ditch has told a court he failed to stop because he “panicked”.

Andrew John Hughes (23), of Water Lane, Bourne, admitted driving dangerously while unsupervised and without insurance when he appeared at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. He also admitted failing to stop when asked by police.

Prosecuting, Rob Townsend said officers had been travelling along Sheep Market in Stamford at about 11.40pm on March 25 when they saw a Renault Clio travelling in the opposite direction.

He told the court officers turned around and had to speed up to catch the car as it had travelled a long distance in a short time.

The driver had reached Sutherland Way before police decided to put on their blue lights to pull him over. Mr Townsend said Hughes failed to stop.

He described how police officers saw Hughes move over to the wrong side of the road to overtake traffic, travelling along Toll Bar and into the traffic calming system.

“At one point he swerved into the correct lane narrowly avoiding a collision with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction,” he said.

Mr Townsend told the court police controllers called off the chase after it reached Ryhall because it became “too dangerous” to keep up with the car.

The Clio was found shortly afterwards partly in a ditch, with the driver upside down in his seat suspended by his seatbelt, said Mr Townsend.

He said Hughes was arrested and admitted the offences during interview, claiming he did not stop because he “did not want to get into trouble for driving while unsupervised”.

Defending, Mike Alexander said Hughes had a problem controlling his temper and had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

He said: “The only person injured was himself and the only property damaged his own. Perhaps that’s the best type of poetic justice.”

Mr Alexander said Hughes had had an argument with his partner on the night in question and she had gone to her parent’s house with her five-year-old and six-month-old daughters. He said Hughes started to drive the car, which belonged to his partner, saw the police car and panicked.

Magistrates decided to commit the case to crown court for sentencing.