A LEARNER driver who was high on cocaine sped away from police through a residential area and narrowly avoided crashing into an ambulance.
A police officer had spotted Lewis Mullen (20), of Scott Avenue, Conisbrough, appearing to hide his identity while he was driving on Fitzwilliam Road, Rotherham, at about 9.50am on May 12, Ms Becky Jane, prosecuting, told Doncaster Crown Court yesterday.
Mullen, driving a Honda, sped off as he exited a mini-roundabout and the officer turned on his blue light and sirens.
The officer chasing Mullen said the defendant had almost lost control of his car at the Parkgate Shopping roundabout, Ms Jane said.
Mullen was travelling at 70mph in a 30mph zone as an ambulance had to pull in to avoid him.
CCTV which was played in court showed Mullen driving up Rawmarsh Hill at speeds of up to 70mph.
He then overtook an HGV on the wrong side of the road as he approached the brow of Rawmarsh Hill, Ms Jane said.
Mullen almost collided with a BMW as he overtook on the wrong side of the road again.
He went through a red light as he turned onto Kilnhurst Road at 50mph in a 30mph zone, Ms Jane said.
Mullen tried to scrape past a bus and as he tried to overtake it he crashed into a Ford Cougar
He spun around the front of the bus and crashed into a parked vehicle which shunted into another, Ms Jane said.
Mullen, who only had a provisional licence, tested over the legal limit for cocaine.
He told officers he had only bought the vehicle days before and could not get insurance for it.
Mullen pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drug-driving, driving without insurance and a licence at an earlier hearing at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court.
Mitigating, Ms Cheryl Dudley said Mullen had thought that being caught driving on a provisional licence meant he would go to prison.
“This is not a sophisticated criminal who knows the system,” she said.
“It’s simply someone who’s panicked but has committed a serious offence which exceeds the custody threshold.
“Fortunately, nobody was injured, but that’s more good luck than judgement.”
Ms Dudley said that since the offence Mullen had suffered a medical condition which had left him unable to walk.
Sentencing, Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker gave Mullen a nine-month jail term, suspended for two years, and banned him from the road for three years.
Mr Hill-Baker said: “I have had the opportunity to see your demeanour in court.
“You are clearly remorseful and deeply affected by that three minutes of dangerous driving.
“Your physical state now is a permanent reminder of what might have been.
“You have come as close as is possible to receiving an immediate sentence of nine months.”