A dangerous driver who mounted a footpath before smashing into another car when he lost control of his partner’s car was told he could have ‘ended her pregnancy’.

Joshua Norman sped off when police tried to pull him over and reached speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone before coming to a shuddering halt after weaving through traffic as he headed towards the A66.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 28-year-old had decided to drive despite being banned when his girlfriend tried to get behind the wheel when she was drunk.

Judge Chris Smith warned the defendant he was facing longer and longer sentences if he didn’t grow up while he was in custody.

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Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Norman was under the influence of cocaine at the time of the accident and was avoiding going back to prison after he was recalled on licence for a previous offence.

She said the high-speed pursuit started on Haughton Road, Darlington when police spotted him driving along a footpath and ended when he crashed into another car while illegally overtaking vehicles as he headed towards Great Burdon.

The court heard how he had a 17 convictions for 42 previous offences including crashing a stolen car.

Norman, of NFA but formerly of Darlington, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving whilst disqualified, being unlawfully at large, driving without insurance, and failing to provide a specimen for analysis, following the incident on April 12 this year.

Marc Atkins, mitigating, said his client was due to become a father at the end of the year and that it was ‘all he had ever wanted’.

He added that Norman had only gotten behind the wheel of the Ford Focus to stop his partner from drink-driving.

The Northern Echo: Joshua NormanJoshua Norman (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Judge Smith sentenced Norman to a total of 16 months in prison for all offences warning him that he was now at a ‘make or break’ point in his life unless he stops offending.

“Make no mistake, it was bad driving; it was unquestionably dangerous,” he said. “You drove at 80mph in busy traffic in an area that was restricted to 30mph.

“Other cars were having to take evasive action and then you hit a vehicle with another road user inside. Meanwhile, sitting traumatised in the passenger seat was your partner who was just pregnant with your child.

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“The wrong sort of injury could have ended the pregnancy with a catastrophic impact for her and for you.”

Norman was also banned from driving for three years and eight months.

The judge added: “You may miss the birth of your first child, I’m sorry about that. You have had a near miss at time when your child was in the very early stages of life.

“If you keep offending, you are going to spend longer and longer in prison.”