Danger driver sent car into somersault with pregnant woman in passenger seat
A motorist drove at up to 80mph on residential roads to escape police – only stopping when he crashed into a roundabout sending the car into a somersault, a court head.
Kieron Ratcliffe-Thompson, aged 23, was uninsured and did not have a licence to drive when he sped past a police patrol car on Halesowen Road, Netherton, on August 20 last year.
The officers turned and followed his silver Renault Megane as it travelled at 50mph before turning into a housing estate, ignoring the patrol car’s blue lights and siren, said Ms Caroline Harris, prosecuting at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
In camera footage shown to the court, the father-of-two was seen to go through red lights without slowing down to check for other traffic and on several occasions drove on the wrong side of the road.
Returning to Netherton Road, he headed for Cinder Bank reaching 80mph, causing the officers behind to call off the chase because of the danger to other road users.
One of the officers in the car was heard to say ‘He’s going to kill someone’.
But seconds later the Megane mounted a roundabout, sending it into a 360-degree somersault before landing on its wheels in the carriageway.
The officers arrested him at the scene, calling an ambulance for a pregnant woman who was also in the car.
The court heard that the defendant had borrowed the car from a family friend, ostensibly to 'show off' in front of his passenger, said Ms Samantha Forsyth, defending.
She said Ratcliffe-Thompson, who was autistic and suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, had broken up with his partner shortly before the incident following stresses in the relationship but they were now back together.
He 'panicked' when he saw the police car because he knew he was uninsured and had no licence.
"He accepts his driving was extremely poor to put it mildly," added Ms Forsyth. She said that no one had been injured in the crash.
Ratcliffe-Thompson, of Victoria Street, Cradley Heath, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving without insurance or a licence.
Judge James Burbidge, QC, handed him a 10-month jail term but suspended it for two years, with a requirement to take part in a 30-day rehabilitation course.
He also imposed a three-month curfew, from 9pm to 6am, and banned him from driving for 30 months.
He said anyone who had watched the video would have expected the defendant to get an immediate prison sentence but he pulled back from that for a number of factors, including a letter from his mother explaining her son’s health issues.
"But that is your final chance," said Mr Burbidge.