High speed pursuit havoc

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A MAN has been jailed after crashing into a taxi while drunk and then involving other cars a high-speed pursuit across Wigan.

Joe Woodcock, 34, of Poolstock, crashed his Ford Focus into the back of a taxi in Wigan town centre before felling the scene at around 11pm on Sunday July 6 this year.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard how the taxi driver was stationary at traffic lights on Wallgate when Woodcock drove into the back of him before overtaking him and speeding towards Poolstock Lane through Chapel Street and Queen Street.

Having witnessed the incident, another taxi driver along with the driver who had been hit gave chase.

In a statement read by prosecutor Katie Beattie, the taxi drivers followed Woodcock through two sets of lights on Poolstock Lane while flashing their lights indicating him to stop. Ignoring the signals, Woodcock continued until he was forced to stop at red lights.

Using this as an opportunity, one taxi driver then managed to drive ahead to box him in. Ms Beattie explained one of the taxi drivers took the keys from Woodcock and contacted the police.

Both witnesses stated they could smell alcohol on the defendant’s breath.

Once a police officer arrived at the scene the defendant tested positive to having 121 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Woodcock admitted to Magistrates that he was driving while over the limit, causing damage to another vehicle, driving without third party insurance, failing to st after an accident and driving without a licence.

The court was told Woodcock had previously been disqualified from driving due to being found over the limit and was waiting to apply for a new provisional license. It was said in the hearing that the car had been a company vehicle belonging to the firm where Woodcock worked as a joiner and he wasn’t insured to be driving outside of work hours.

The court heard that the company director Paul Stokes felt let down by Woodcock.

Ms Beattie said: “He feels as though he has been misled. He is annoyed and frustrated but he hasn’t done anything like this before.”

Defending, Bob Toppin explained that Woodcock had a verbal argument with his partner prior to the accident and drove off because he knew he had been drinking.

He said: “He is a very valued employee and the fact that Mr Stokes thinks that even after everything speaks volumes.”

Woodcock added: “I shouldn’t have done it and I have regretted it ever since it happened.”

Woodcock was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison and banned from driving for five years.