Dangerous driver crashed car into tree then pulled out Rambo-style knife as he fled police - Leeds Crown Court

A dangerous driver with "no respect for authority" crashed an insured car into a tree before being spotted with a Rambo-style knife as he tried to run away from the scene.

By Georgina Morris
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 5:18 pm

Leeds Crown Court heard how police had been made aware of a car being driven on cloned registration plates in the city centre area at around noon on April 6 this year.

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The Nissan being driven by Eyob Tola was seen heading towards Beeston and officers caught up with it in Burton Road. They followed it into Linden Place, a dead end where both vehicles initially came to a stop. However, Tola drove off again as one of the officers went to approach the vehicle.

Leeds Crown Court heard how Eyob Tola drove at more than twice the speed limit as he tried to get away from police. Picture: James Hardisty

Police caught up to the car again around 15 minutes later on Dewsbury Road and Tola proceeded to run red lights, travel at more than twice the speed limit and overtake stationary vehicles in an attempt to get away.

Prosecutor Kristina Goodwin said his actions forced another vehicle into a cycle lane as its driver took evasive action to avoid a collision.

The pursuit continued until Tola lost control on a bend while driving at around 60mph and crashed into a tree, causing substantial damage to the vehicle.

Abandoning his female passenger, he ran off and was seen pulling out a knife by a member of the public who warned the officer pursuing him on foot.

Tola threw the large black Rambo-style knife away but it was recovered after his arrest. A roadside drug test also returned a positive result for cannabis.

Miss Goodwin said the passenger was experiencing chest pains after the crash, with both her and Tola being taken to hospital for assessment.

Tola, 20, of no fixed address, admitted possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, dangerous driving, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

The court heard he had two previous convictions for eight offences and was subject to a suspended prison sentence for possession of a knife when the latest offences took place.

Miss Goodwin said the suspended sentence related to an incident when Tola had threatened to kill the children of a police officer after being challenged about travelling on a train without paying the fare.

Satpal Roth-Sharma, mitigating, said: "He fully accepts the offences and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity."

She described how Tola was uneducated and had been living hand to mouth, sleeping rough or in cars, adding: "He's living a chaotic lifestyle. There's no structure whatsoever."

He had been attacked by a gang while living in Manchester and began carrying a knife for protection and due to his own paranoia, she said.

Jailing him for 22 months, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "You have absolutely no compunction in breaking the law and you have no respect for authority."

Tola, who appeared via video link from prison, was also banned from driving for two years and 11 months.