A YOUNG man who drove the wrong way round Stratford’s gyratory system in a bid to escape from the police following a 90mph chase has escaped being jailed.
Dominic Odell, of no fixed abode, who only stopped after turning into a dead end, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and having no licence.
But even though the 20-year-old’s driving could have had ‘catastrophic’ results, he was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to take part in a Thinking Skills programme.
Recorder Anupama Thompson also ordered him to take part in a rehabilitation activity and to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, and banned him from driving for 12 months.
Prosecutor Peter Grice said at 8.40pm on Sunday December 9 last year, police saw a black Fiesta heading along Kenilworth Road towards Leamington.
They followed it for a short distance to check on Odell’s driving, and were about to head off when they realised the Fiesta, which had three female passengers, had disappeared at speed.
So they drove round the area and after they came across it again they followed it into Lillington Road where it went the wrong way along a roundabout filter lane into Cubbington Road.
And because of the danger to other road-users, the officers were instructed to abandon their pursuit.
About an hour later the Fiesta was seen again in the Warwick area, and officers followed it to the Longbridge island where they pulled up alongside it as Odell slowed to a near stop at red traffic lights.
But as the lights changed to green and they tried to pull in front of the Fiesta, it made contact with the off-side of their vehicle and sped away towards Stratford.
With the police in pursuit, Odell reached 85-90mph along the A46, which has a 70mph limit, and then continued at 90 along Warwick Road, which has a 50 limit, as he headed to Stratford.
On entering the town, he went the wrong way round the gyratory system, but fortunately traffic was light at that time and there was nothing coming the opposite way.
He went through a ‘no entry’ sign and over a kerb into Waterside and then into Mill Lane, which comes to a dead end where he collided with a wall, got out and made off on foot.
But the officers gave chase, and he stopped after being threatened with a Taser.
Colin Charvill, defending, said Odell had panicked.
Recorder Thompson told Odell: “The risk you presented to other road-users means this offence passes the custody threshold.”
But she added even though there were issues over Odell complying with a community order he was subject to, she would suspend the sentence.