A danger driver who clocked 130mph as he tried to flee police has been spared prison.
Samuel Atkinson was driving his girlfriend’s BMW without permission or insurance when he drew the attention of police in August. In the 25 minute chase that followed in Sunderland, he caused a number of near misses, forced his way through traffic, drove on the wrong side of the road and ran a red light.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Atkinson drove at up to 70mph in a 40mph zone, took roundabouts at 60mph and went around the same roundabout three times at Chester Road in the city. He then went onto the A19, where he drove at up to 100mph.
Read more: South Shields gunman shot two youths playing football outside his home with air rifle
Prosecutor John Crawford told the court: “He drove onto the A1231, where he was travelling at speeds of up to 130mph. There were numerous police officers involved in the pursuit at this point.”
Mr Crawford said after around 25 minutes and a “number of near-misses” Atkinson brought his vehicle to a halt in a McDonald’s car park. Atkinson, 31, of Cairo Street, Sunderland, admitted dangerous driving, having no insurance and taking the vehicle without consent.
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Atkinson to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, with 240 hours unpaid work and rehabilitation requirements. Atkinson has been banned from the roads for two years and must pass an extended test before he can drive again.
The judge said it was “a very bad piece of dangerous driving” and added: “There were numerous near misses but no accident, no damage was caused to property and nobody was hurt. It seems that is by good luck, good fortune, rather than design.”
The judge said he had read a letter from Atkinson, who said he had “panicked” when he saw the police were following him and apologised for the danger he caused. Jamie Adams, defending, said Atkinson is a “househusband” and added: “His family depends on him.”