Judge jails Sheffield teen for 'white knuckle ride' dangerous driving during high-speed police chase

‘This is one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I’ve seen in my career of 17 years,’ a judge told a Sheffield teenager as he sent him to prison.
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The judge, Recorder Alex Menary, made the comments as he jailed 19-year-old Jai Darmundas for eight months, during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on July 5 this year.

He added: “You placed many, many other road users in danger. There was a significant risk of harm to others. On many occasions, cars had to take evasive action.

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“The consequences if you had collided with a car or pedestrian would have been catastrophic and this sentence would be measured in years, not months.”

19-year-old Jai Darmundas was jailed for eight months after embarking on a 'dangerous' police chase19-year-old Jai Darmundas was jailed for eight months after embarking on a 'dangerous' police chase
19-year-old Jai Darmundas was jailed for eight months after embarking on a 'dangerous' police chase

The court was told how Darmundas’ dangerous driving took place on November 9, 2021 after an on-duty police officer witnessed him pull out of a car park at speed while driving a vehicle carrying three passengers travelling towards Dyche Lane, Batemoor, before overtaking a vehicle.

Prosecution barrister, Katherine White, said the officer began to pursue Darmundas in their vehicle, ‘illuminated the blue lights and signalled for him to stop,’ but he ignored the instructions and embarked on a dangerous police chase, at speed.

Darmundas then made his way towards Meadowhead roundabout and on to Chesterfield Road and Abbey Lane in south Sheffield while reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in a 30mph zone, before taking the vehicle into the car park of a care home on Heeley Bank Road, the court heard.

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Ms White said Darmundas began circling the car park in his vehicle, while police cars waited for him to exit on Heeley Bank Road.

She described how Darmundas subsequently exited the car park and crashed into one of the police cars waiting for him, and injuring two police officers in the process; with one suffering pain to his skull, right shoulder, wrist and lower back and the other officer being left with pain to his shoulder and right knee, ‘consistent with whiplash’.

Following the crash, Darmundas sped off and made his way on to City Road, still travelling at speed, was subsequently seen driving on the wrong side of the road, and went on to collide with some posts.

Video footage of Darmundas’ driving taken from a pursuing vehicle was shown to the court, and Recorder Menary described it as a ‘white knuckle ride even to watch it in a court room’.

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Following the chase, Darmundas handed himself in at a police station two days’ later on November 11 last year, and accepted the ‘driving was dangerous’ and that he had ‘put people at risk,’ Ms White told the court.

The teenager, who only holds a provisional driving licence, was subsequently charged with, and pleaded guilty to, dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.

Defending, Richard Adams, told the court that the ‘catalyst' to Darmundas’ offending ‘appears in part to be attributed to his poor mental health at the time’.

He added: “It’s the defendant who handed himself in some two days’ later. He's described as being particularly frank in interview, having a good degree of [understanding] the risk he placed himself and others in.”

In addition to jailing Darmundas for eight months, Recorder Menary also sentenced him to a 22-month driving ban.