A LEARNER driver deliberately rammed a police car at 85mph as it tried to box him in following a 20-mile high-speed pursuit from Leamington and along two motorways.
It caused Yahya Ismail’s BMW to spin and the police car to spin and hit the crash barrier, leaving the M42 near Solihull blocked, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
And jailing him for 14 months, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told Ismail: “This is one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I have had to deal with for some time.”
Ismail, 21, of Gibbs Road, Lye, Stourbridge, was also disqualified for three years and two months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, having no insurance or full licence and driving with over the legal limit of cannabis.
Prosecutor Glyn Samuel said that at 9.35 at night on December 28 last year, the police saw a BMW driven by Ismail heading out of Leamington on the A452.
It had only one working headlight and the front number plate was on the dashboard, and as the officers began to follow it to pull it over, they saw the brake lights were As As Ismail, who had only a provisional licence, increased his speed, they put their blue light on to get him to pull over.
Along Banbury Road he accelerated to 70mph as he headed onto the M40 at junction 14, where Mr Samuel pointed out as a learner driver he was not permitted to go.
Pursued by the police, Ismail reached speeds of up to 90mph as he headed along the M40 in the rain, using the hard shoulder at times to get past other traffic.
He joined the M42 and there were three police cars involved in the pursuit, and as Ismail straddled the first lane and the hard shoulder, one of them began to overtake, but he veered across in front of it, almost hitting it.
Mr Samuel said: “At junction 3 a police vehicle was in the lead so they could box him in, and stingers had been placed on the slip road.
“He switched lane as the officers tried to box him in and hit the off-side of a police vehicle at 85, causing the police vehicle to spin and hit the crash barrier.”
The police car ended up across the carriageway, as did Ismail’s BMW, which also spun, blocking the whole motorway, and the officer suffered a whiplash injury which kept her off work for three weeks.
Ismail, who had no previous convictions, was arrested, and a blood test showed he had more than twice the legal limit of cannabis in his system.
Brad Lawlor, defending, conceded: “There is very little to say about the offence itself. This was a protracted incident of extremely bad driving.”
Mr Lawlor said Ismail had only recently bought the BMW, and ‘took it for a drive to clear his head’ following the death of a friend from cancer the previous day.
Jailing Ismail, Judge Lockhart told him: “This was very dangerous driving over a long period. Officers and other road-users were put at risk. This is so serious that it must be a sentence of custody.”