A 25-year-old man from east London has been jailed for a number of offences including dangerous driving and drug-driving, following a police pursuit along the A14 at the beginning of this year.
George Brown, of Aveley Road, Upminster, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, Monday, November 4, where he was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years, with an extension period of nine months and will be required to take an extended re-test.
Brown had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing at South Essex Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 19, to the following five offences:
– Dangerous driving
– Drug driving (cocaine)
– Driving without insurance
– Driving whilst disqualified
– Possession of cocaine
The charges relate to an incident which occurred on Friday, January 4, when police were called at 12.40am to reports of persons seen acting suspiciously near to a lorry which was parked in Oaks Drive, Newmarket.
A witness was able to inform police that he had then seen the people get into a Ford Focus and provided the registration number of this vehicle, which was then circulated to police units in the area. Soon after this the vehicle was detected travelling eastbound along the A14.
At around 1am a police response unit from Mildenhall – which was then leaving Bury St Edmunds after taking someone into custody – joined the A14 at junction 44 and travelled towards junction 45 at Rougham. The officers were intending to pull over near the junction and wait to see if the suspect vehicle travelled towards them, when they passed a layby and noticed a car and lorry parked in it.
As the police vehicle pulled into the layby, the officers could then see the car was a Ford Focus with a registration number matching the suspect vehicle.
One of the officers got out of the police car and went to speak to the occupants of the Ford Focus and as she approached the passenger side of the car, it then drove off onto the A14 without any lights on.
The officer got back into the police car and they went in pursuit of the Ford Focus, which at this point was travelling at around 90mph and switching from the inside lane to the outside lane, continually applying the brakes.
The Ford Focus then suddenly came to a stop on the A14 and a man exited the vehicle and stood in the road and so the police car also stopped and an officer got out to detain this man, walking him off the A14 to wait for another police vehicle to collect them.
The Focus accelerated along the A14 reaching speeds of 100mph and the police vehicle was then joined in the pursuit by another response vehicle and two vehicles from the Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT), which took over the pursuit.
The Ford Focus exited the A14 at the junction with the A1120 in Stowupland, drove around the roundabout and then in an attempt to evade police, entered the eastbound off-slip travelling in the wrong direction. One of the RAPT vehicles then made tactical contact with the Focus to bring it safely to a stop, thereby preventing it from causing further risk to any other road users.
George Brown – who had been driving the Ford Focus – then got out of the car and ran off, before being caught by officers and arrested at around 1.20am. Brown made an admission at the scene that he had taken some cocaine and subsequently failed a roadside drug wipe.
See video of the last moments of the police chase at https://vimeo.com/367773816
Inspector Gary Miller, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This was another example of something our officers are dealing with too frequently – someone under the influence of drugs getting behind the wheel of a car, driving at speed and in a manner that showed complete disregard for the safety of other road users. I would like to praise the officers involved for their commitment in ensuring the vehicle being driven by George Brown was safely brought to a stop and then securing his arrest. High-speed pursuits necessitate officers to put all of their training into action, requiring the utmost skill and complete concentration.
“This incident demonstrated great team work between the response officers from Mildenhall who initially located and pursued Brown’s car (and then ultimately arrested him) and the RAPT officers who took over the pursuit with their high-performance vehicles and then made tactical contact with the Ford Focus, preventing it from entering the main carriageway of the A14 whilst travelling in the wrong direction.
“George Brown broke as many of the basic laws of our roads that he could – driving dangerously, drug-driving, failing to stop for police, no insurance and no licence – and we will not tolerate people who are prepared to risk the lives and welfare of other road users in this way. Hopefully the sentence given to Brown will act as a warning to others that these actions are dangerous and have serious consequences.”