AN unlicensed and uninsured motorist caused three accidents trying to evade police after he was signalled to pull over, a court was told.

Steven Nelson, who has convictions for motoring offences between 2017 and 2019, failed to stop when blue lights were activated on a patrol vehicle after his Ford Transit van came up as a vehicle of “interest” on the police computer, when it was seen on the A688 near Bishop Auckland, on July 28, last year.

Katie Spence, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court it triggered a pursuit over the following 15 to 20 minutes in the Bishop Auckland, High Etherley and Toft Hill areas involving several police officers.

The Northern Echo: Steven Nelson risked causing serious injury or worse during 20 minute pursuit by police, court was told Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARYSteven Nelson risked causing serious injury or worse during 20 minute pursuit by police, court was told Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARY

Miss Spence said Nelson’s van clipped and knocked off the wing mirror of an Asda delivery vehicle as he tried to, “bully his way through traffic”.

She said Nelson proceeded to drive straight through mini-roundabouts, flout red traffic lights, take roundabouts in the wrong direction and drive on the wrong side of the road.

During one of his dangerous manoeuvres he collided with a black Vauxhall Astra driven by a woman, but failed to stop, he narrowly missed a horse and trap after a tight overtake, before hitting a Ford Focus head-on, with a four-year-old girl strapped in the front seat.

Read more: Banned driver went wrong way down the A1(M) in County 

The girl’s mother had to be assisted by emergency services to be extricated from the damaged car.

Although Nelson and passengers then fled on foot, there was a chase during which he was apprehended and arrested.

Miss Spence said when he was interviewed he made no comment to police.

But the 25-year-old defendant, of Park Avenue, Silksworth, Sunderland, admitted charges of dangerous driving, no insurance and no licence when he appeared before magistrates, who committed him to be sentenced at the crown court.

Vic Laffey, for Nelson, said it was difficult to argue over the poor manner of his driving.

“As is often the case, if he just stopped and thought about what was potentially going to happen and just did what the police wanted him to do in the first place he would have committed a relatively minor offence and got nowhere near this court.

“But, he panicked and is genuinely sorry for what he did, particularly at the culmination of this chase, specifically the last collision.

“All his recent convictions are driving-related and we can only hope if he gets his licence back there will be no repetition of this offending.”

Mr Laffey presented a letter from the defendant’s employers, “demonstrating there’s a positive side to the lad,” but indicating he may well lose that job if he faces a prison sentence for these offences.

“It’s a great shame he places himself in a position where there’s a danger of the loss of his liberty.”

Judge James Adkin said, however, that Nelson drove at, “grossly excessive speeds”, colliding with three vehicles, causing the injury to the final driver and putting her child at risk.

“It was pure good fortune that she wasn’t more seriously injured and that her child wasn’t seriously injured or killed.

“The risk of death and serious injury was evident.”

Judge Adkin said the nature of his driving demanded an immediate prison sentence.

He imposed a 14-month sentence and banned Nelson from driving for 25 months, while the defendant must pass an extended re-test after that to be able to legally drive again.

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