A cocaine-fuelled driver who hurtled through residential areas at nearly three times the legal limit to evade police has been jailed.
David Atkinson led officers on a dangerous 20-minute pursuit around the streets of Sunderland after getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.
His manner of driving was so perilous that it caused police to pull out of the pursuit twice – before cops deployed a stinger device that burst three of his tyres.
The 24-year-old was successfully detained on the A19 following the alarming ordeal which saw him narrowly avoid other road users and drive at speeds of up to 80mph in 30mph limits.
On Tuesday (October 13) Atkinson admitted dangerous driving and associated offences when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court. A judge subsequently jailed him for 14 months as well as handing him a driving ban.
PC David Richardson, of Northumbria Police’s Operations Department, said: “It’s nothing short of sheer luck that Atkinson did not cause serious injury to himself, officers or innocent members of the public that night.
“While high on cocaine he took the decision to get behind the wheel and reacted in the most appalling of manners when police tried to pull him over.
“He showed a total disregard for the livelihood of families across Sunderland as he hurtled through residential streets at up to 80mph, narrowly avoiding collisions with other road users and even driving on the wrong side of the carriageway.
“His actions that night put lives in danger – and I’m pleased that he has now been convicted and has been handed a custodial sentence.
“The laws of the road are there for a reason, they are not optional, and we will take robust action against anybody who endangers the lives of other road users and the wider community.”
The court heard Atkinson was asked to pull over by police at about 12.20am on January 11 after officers grew suspicious.
But rather than stop his vehicle, he pressed down the accelerator and led police on a dangerous pursuit through the streets of Sunderland.
Even after police had managed to burst three of his tyres using a stinger, Atkinson continued driving on the A19 in a desperate bid for freedom.
With the game up, he tried to throw away two bags of cocaine before he was arrested and found to be over the limit for the drug.
Atkinson, of Jacques Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, no insurance, failing to stop, driving under the influence of drugs, and possession of cocaine.
He was subsequently jailed for 14 months and handed a driving ban of three years and seven months.