A man who reported his car as stolen just hours after leading police on a dangerous high-speed chase across Sheffield has been jailed.
Warren Gray, 33, called police at around 8.55am on Friday, June 30, and claimed his car had been stolen overnight.
But, in fact, it was Gray who had been at the wheel when he drove at speeds of more than 80mph speed through the streets of Sheffield in the early hours of the same morning.
He was spotted in his car, a red Suzuki Vitara, at around 4.10am on Penistone Road, travelling toward the city centre, by South Yorkshire Police's Operational Support Roads Policing Officer, PC Nicola Jones, who was conducting patrols across the city in an unmarked police car.
PC Jones began following Gray to conduct routine checks on the vehicle, when he entered Bowling Green Street and had to stop due to bollards at the end of the road where it connects to the A61.
Gray, of Derby Street, Sheffield, then began reversing backwards and forwards at the end of the road.
Growing suspicious of his actions and the routine checks showing the Vitara had no registered owner, PC Jones illuminated the vehicle’s blue lights requesting Gray to stop the vehicle.
Now aware it was a police car behind him, Gray mounted the pavement and squeezed past the bollards, accelerating at speed onto the A61 and towards Derek Dooley Way.
Once on Derek Dooley Way, he drove through three red lights and can be seen on dash cam footage, crossing over the central reservation onto the opposite side of the road without his lights on.
PC Jones said: “Gray continued to drive recklessly, going the wrong way around the Parkway roundabout before speeding onto the outbound carriageway of the Sheffield Parkway, in excess of 80mph in a 50pmh zone.
“He then came off at the Prince of Wales Road exit, again driving the wrong way around the roundabout and onto Prince of Wales Road, driving towards oncoming traffic. Officers remained on the opposite carriageway to Gray to not further endanger other motorists.
“He eventually turned onto East Bank Road, travelling at speeds of 70mph in a 30mph zone, where officers followed and were safely able to implement roads policing tactics with four police cars now involved in the pursuit, effectively boxing him in.
“However Gray violently reversed and rammed the police car behind him that was unoccupied and stationary with the handbrake on, unintentionally picking the vehicle up on the Vitara’s towbar, which then allowed him to reverse, with the police car attached, and drive away.”
Gray broke his vehicle free and went off-road down a steep embankment onto Daresbury Drive. He was further pursued by officers on Daresbury Road and down a footpath, just nine minutes after the pursuit had started, where the vehicle was stopped and Gray jumped out, running from the scene into nearby fields.
Officers were unable to locate him and had the car recovered from the scene to be forensically examined. However, believing he could get away with his dangerous actions and in an attempt to pervert the course of justice, Gray then reported his car as stolen, less than five hours later.
Officers attended at his address and he was arrested the same day. Two officers involved in the pursuit and who came into close contact with Gray were able to identify him as the driver of the vehicle.
He was charged with driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and committing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted after a three-day trial.
He was sentenced in total to two years and four months in prison on Wednesday, March 21.
Road Policing Sgt Lee Beck said: “Gray’s actions were not only dangerous but incredibly selfish and thoughtless, he gave no consideration for anyone but himself, putting other people’s lives potentially at risk.
“His foolish attempt to ‘cover his tracks’ by reporting his vehicle as stolen just hours later, landed him 12-months of his prison sentence, followed by 16-months for the dangerous driving, and an additional five months to run at the same time for the disqualification.
"Gray could very easily have caused a serious, if not fatal collision that morning due to his reckless behaviour and negligence on the road. I am pleased he is now behind bars and unable to put other road users in danger.”