Banned drink driver goaded police during dangerous high-speed chase in Ford Transit van across south and west Leeds

A banned drink driver goaded police by waving at officers from his van as he drove at high speed on the wrong side of the road during a dangerous pursuit.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:45 pm

Luke Johnson came close to losing control of his vehicle during the chase in areas of south and west Leeds before finally coming to a stop when his tyres burst.

Johnson was jailed for 14 months over the incident on the evening of September 28 this year.

Gareth Henderson-Moore, prosecuting, said a member of the public became concerned as Johnson appeared to be having an argument with himself near to his Ford Transit van.

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Leeds Crown Court

Police were contacted when Johnson got into the vehicle and drove off.

Officers saw Johnson in the vehicle a short time later driving along Middleton Ring Road at 70mph.

The officers followed Johnson as he drove dangerously along residential streets to the Beeston area.

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Johnson drove along Belle Isle Road at 70mph.

The pursuit continued into west Leeds where he drove in the wrong carriageway along Whitehall Road at New Farnley.

Johnson eventually stopped when the van tyres deflated on the Ring Road at New Wortley.

Officers dragged him from the vehicle. He was aggressive and appeared to be drunk.

He refused to provide a breath test. The vehicle was searched and an extendable baton was found inside.

Johnson, 31, of Allenby Crescent, Beeston, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen for analysis, having no insurance, driving while disqualified and possessing an offensive weapon.

Mr Henderson-Moore said the dangerous driving offence was aggravated by the fact that he turned his headlights off early in the pursuit.

Ms Whitehead said the incident happened after he had spent the evening drinking to celebrate his friend having a child.

The barrister said Johnson was on medication for ADHD at the time.

Recorder Tahir Khan QC said: "At one point you appeared to be goading the police.

"It is about as bad a piece of driving as one could envisage.

"You drove over a protracted period of time, driving at excessive speeds, going through red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road and putting people in danger.

"All of this at the time when you were disqualified from driving and unfit through drink."

Johnson was also banned from driving for 17 and a half months.