Driver who fled police and smashed into two other cars in Beeston is jailed for dangerous driving
A driver who smashed into two other motorists whilst attempting to escape police has been jailed but will only spend half his sentence locked up.
Scott Craig fled police, crossed junctions without stopping and reached speeds of up to 70mph in a 30 zone before colliding so hard with one car he bounced off it and hit another car as they both waited to turn into junctions in Beeston.
The court heard how he caused significant injuries to both the drivers of the other cars but ran off from the scene and was later traced and arrested as a result of DNA found on the airbag of the VW Passat that he had been driving and a can of beer that was found in the car.
Craig appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday facing three charges, one of dangerous driving and two of failing to stop after an accident and for police when required to do so. He had earlier pleaded not guilty but changed his pleas at a trial preparation hearing last month.
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The court heard that the offences took place on March 14 this year when police on routine patrol noticed the Passat come from Rowland Road and onto Lady Pit Lane at speed at around 11.35am. They used sirens and lights to try and stop the driver but he sped away to Coupland Street where he appeared to slow down. When an officer got out of the car he drove off towards Malvern Road and straight across the junction with Beeston Road at speeds between 60mph and 70mph in a 30 zone.
Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, then told the court that Craig ran away from the scene and escaped police who pursued on foot but was arrested using DNA evidence. Both the Mini and the Ford were declared a write off.
Victim impact statements were read out on behalf of the two other drivers caught up in the incident. The male driver of the Ranger is an electrician who has had to go to light duties as his back injuries mean he can't carry his tool box and the female Mini driver suffered a fractured wrist, damage to ligaments and has been referred to a hand surgeon as physiotherapy has not been effective.
Craig, of Edinburgh Road, Armley, aged 33, has 11 previous convictions for 19 offences ranging from damage to theft. The court was also told of convictions from 2014 to 2019 which include driving without a licence and insurance, involvement in TWOC, drug driving and driving while disqualified and with no insurance. In November 2020 a community order imposed for the last offence was revoked for non-compliance.
Defending, Daniel Penman, said: "He recognises it was an appalling piece of driving. He wants to offer his full apologies to all those involved and is dreadfully sorry that he caused injury and his actions led to these consequences for people."
However, Judge Stubbs QC said: "It would have been more fit if he had hung around to see if they were okay rather than running away."
Craig, who had a job as a mechanic but lost it due to this incident continues to work unpaid at the garage and a reference from his employer was presented to court.
Mr Stubbs QC added: "You had everything going for you - a good job with employers who value you, a community order that you were attending and the advice and impact that was necessary for you. All that could not stop you from driving a motor car in a dangerous manner. Just how dangerous that was, was shown by what happened at the next junction."
Craig was given an eight month custodial sentence, of which he will spend half locked up and half released on licence. He was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for three years and four months. His licence will be endorsed and will have to pass an extended driving test.
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