A DRIVER who had taken cocaine ‘barged into’ a police car as he drove along the pavement to get past it during a high-speed chase through residential areas of Warwick.
But despite the ‘shockingly dangerous’ nature of his driving, Thomas Mann escaped being jailed when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.
The 22 year-old, of Stratford Street, Warwick, who also admitted driving with specified drugs in his system and having no licence and no insurance, was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years.
He was banned from driving for three years and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation requirement for 20 days.
Prosecutor Scott Coughtrie said at shortly after midnight on October 16 last year a police officer in St Michaels Road, saw a Vauxhall Astra which had been reported as being driven fast.
As the officer followed the car to Birmingham Road he carried out a check which showed it had no insurance, so put on his blue light.
Mann stopped, and the officer pulled up behind the Astra and got out to speak to him.
But Mann then accelerated away harshly, with the wheels spinning, setting off a pursuit which lasted around 20 minute at speeds of up to 80mph.
A police pursuit driver took over the chase and managed to overtaken the Astra and pull in front of it to force it to slow down.
But Mann went up onto the pavement to get past, and barged into the police car before speeding off.
But other officers ahead of him put down a stinger, and after going over it Mann continued to drive for some time before coming to a halt.
He got out and ran off, leaving his clearly upset female passenger in the car, but was caught a short distance away and arrested.
A blood test at the police station showed Mann, whose only previous conviction had been for travelling on a train without a ticket, had cannabis and cocaine in his system.
Nick Devine, defending, said: “This behaviour could not be any more out of character. Mr Mann is normally a responsible young man who holds down a job.
“He has responded to what happened. He’s not taking drugs, and he’s not driving. He’s going everywhere by bike or on foot.”
Mr Devine added Mann had bought the car a couple of days earlier, but could not afford to insure it, and ‘sheer blind panic took over’ when the police indicated for him to stop.