A YOUNG driver’s new high-powered car has been seized after a Wigan police chase which reached three times the speed limit and ended in a crash.
A judge slammed Matthew Hamlett’s “appalling” driving and as well as imposing a suspended prison term he made a deprivation order confiscating his Nissan Silvia.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 22-year-old apprentice engineer turned onto Warrington Road, Marus Bridge, just after midnight on May 20 after a trip to McDonalds.
Police officers sitting in their parked vehicle were alerted by the sound of revving engines. They saw the Nissan followed by two other cars and while those cars slowed down the Nissan sped off and the police gave chase.
Hamlett ignored police signals to stop and went through red pedestrian lights at 70mph and during the two-mile pursuit drove through two more sets of red traffic lights, latterly at 90mph in a 30mph area.
At the roundabout leading to junction 25 of the M6 Hamlett, who had switched off his lights, lost control, careered off the road and crashed into trees. He waited at the car and when quizzed by police he said: “I just panicked, I’m a total idiot.”
Sentencing him to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, Recorder Patrick Thompson said that to describe his driving as dangerous was an under-statement.
“You are lucky to have escaped in one piece. Thankfully no-one was killed or injured. You not only risked your own life but the lives of anyone else on the road and the police officers following.
“It was a quite appalling piece of driving. It was an act of utter madness.”
The judge also ordered him to carry out 240 hours’ unpaid work and £500 in prosecution costs.
“It was a very, very expensive mistake but it could have been more expensive. You could be in prison or killed yourself or someone else.”
Hamlett, of Preston Road, Coppull, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He was banned from driving for two years.
Anthony Parkinson, defending, said Hamlett had no previous convictions. “He is generally a law-abiding young man. On this occasion he made a significant error of judgement.”
He panicked after his front seat passenger said, “Police, go”.
Mr Parkinson urged the judge not to take the car off Hamlett and explained that he had paid £8,000 for the car about a month earlier and after having modifications carried out it was now worth £10,000.