Driver jailed for high-speed chase

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A BANNED driver who led police on a dangerous car chase around the streets of Sheffield at 80mph has been locked up for nine months.

David Walter Burnham, aged 26, panicked when he saw the police because he was banned from driving and was using a vehicle for which he wasn’t insured, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Louise Gallager, prosecuting, said Burnham led police on a 20-minute chase around Sheffield, starting in Longley before eventually losing control of the Ford van and crashing into a dry-stone wall.

During the chase he mounted two kerbs and a grass verge, drove the wrong way round two roundabouts, went through a red light, ignored a ‘no entry’ sign and went down a one-way street.

At one point as a police BMW drove alongside him along a rural road in Loxley, Burnham twice swerved his vehicle into the patrol car.

Miss Gallagher said: “Two police officers were in an unmarked police vehicle in Longley at 10.45pm on March 29, when they saw a red Ford van being driven at speed towards them in the centre of the carriageway.

“They heard and saw the vehicle skid. The van then moved off at speeds of up to 80mph.”

Miss Gallagher said the chase was joined by two marked police cars and ended when Burnham, who was carrying a passenger, lost control of the van and hit a wall.

He was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment to an injured leg.

Burnham admitted driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

Alison Dorrell, defending, said: “He didn’t stop for the police because he was scared because he had no licence and thought he would be sent back to prison.”

The court heard Burnham, of Lockwood Road, Goldthorpe, Barnsley, had at least five previous convictions for driving while disqualified and various other motoring offences, along with drugs offences, taking vehicles without consent, possessing an imitation firearm, burglary and dangerous driving.

Jailing him for nine months, Judge Trevor Barber said: “You were once again driving while disqualified and driving very dangerously over a period of 20 minutes.

“Your driving was horrendous. It was only a matter of good luck that you didn’t cause serious harm to members of the public, let alone yourself.”

He was jailed for nine months, given six points on his licence, handed a three-year driving ban and told he must sit his driving test again before he can drive.