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Chester-le-Street driver narrowly missed police car in Consett getaway attempt
AN UNINSURED driver narrowly avoided crashing into an occupied police car during a failed getaway attempt, a court heard.
A police officer approached Michael Price after spotting a van reported stolen on a garage forecourt near Villa Real roundabout, Consett, in the early hours of June 25 last year, Durham Crown Court was told.
The van drove away, leaving Price at the wheel of a Vauxhall Vectra.
When the officer shouted “stop, police, stay where you are”, Price started to drive off, Liam O’Brien, prosecuting, told the court.
The officer tried to reach into the Vectra to pull out the keys, but without success.
Price drove off at speed on the wrong side of the road, narrowly avoiding an oncoming police car.
The officer at the wheel thought the Vectra was going to hit him, Mr O’Brien said.
Instead, it hit a kerb 20m away and swerved across the road.
Price abandoned the car and a foot search began, which ended when a police dog found the 31-year-old hiding behind a wall about 100m away.
When interviewed by police, Price, of Lowther Avenue, Chester-le-Street, remained silent. However, he later pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving.
Mr O’Brien said Price had 30 convictions on his criminal record for 89 offences.
Lorraine Mustard, for Price, said her client had been given the Vectra by a friend so, while he had a driving licence, was not insured to drive the vehicle.
But fleeing the police, he had jumped out of a small frying pan into a ferocious fire, she said.
Price made a foolish choice and he acknowledged that; but he has since returned his driving licence due to his epilepsy worsening and he is engaging with drug rehabilitation, Miss Mustard said.
Judge Stephen Ashurst told Price he had a very poor criminal record including some very serious offending and an extremely bad record for driving.
The police officer in the car had endured a close shave, he added.
Judge Ashurst decided to defer sentence for six months to give Price a chance to stop offending. The case will return to York Crown Court on February 14 next year.