An “immature” banned motorist, said to be “obsessed” with vehicles, shunted a police vehicle off the A19 injuring its driver, a court heard.

Nathan Ferguson twice drove a tipper van the wrong way on the dual carriageway, forcing oncoming drivers to take evasive action, and drove through several red lights. during a police chase which spanned Northumbria and Durham police force areas.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Ferguson, who has four previous convictions for dangerous driving and five for driving while disqualified, rammed into a police vehicle ahead of him as he drove in haphazard fashion late on the morning of February 16.

The Northern Echo: Nathan Ferguson, said to have 'an obsession' for vehicles, jailed for 30 month for dangerous

He then veered onto the inside lane and shunted the police vehicle off the road, causing it to mount an embankment, with the driver hitting his head off the inside of the door.

Read more: Easington man jailed for two dangerous driving offences in Peterlee

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said the officer, an experienced motor patrols sergeant, suffered whiplash-type injuries to his head, neck and chest, for which he was off work for some time, requiring a course of physiotherapy.

The court heard he has still been suffering head aches and he has been told he could expect to experience the after-effects for up to the next 18 months.

Mr Bunch said the incident has left the officer of 30 years' policing re-thinking the way he approaches pursuit situations.

Ferguson, who went on to abandon the tipper near to the Hylton Bridge, Sunderland, fled the scene on foot and was arrested after being located on the roof of a house in the nearby Pennywell area.

Mr Bunch said Ferguson told officers arresting him: “He shouldn’t have tried to stop me. I wouldn’t have rammed him and he wouldn’t have ended up in a tree.”

The court heard the chase began at the Howdon interchange on the A19 in North Tyneside and went as far south as the Castle Eden junction in County Durham, before Ferguson headed back northbound into the Northumbria area.

Patrol cars from two force areas were deployed in response to his driving and at one stage, as he headed down the wrong carriageway into oncoming traffic, police temporarily halted the pursuit as a safety measure.

Read more: Teenager dangerous driver from Sedgefield stopped by police stinger

Ferguson, formerly of Easington Lane, but, more recently of Broadway, Gateshead, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

But he denied a charge of assault causing the officer actual bodily harm.

The 24-year-old defendant, with 23 past offences on his record, mostly motoring convictions, changed his plea to also admit the assault charge ahead of his scheduled trial.

Shaun Routledge, for Ferguson, told the court: “The dangerous driving is probably as bad as it can get and his previous convictions do not assist him.”

Recorder Olivia Checa-Dover said: “There was a deliberate ram on his own admission.”

But Mr Routledge said the “ramming”, could be described as, “a nudge”.

Mr Routledge said the defendant has chosen to seek a warehouse job, aware that anything involving vehicles would be a non-starter, at the moment, given his driving record.

“He would like, at some stage in future, to attend college and learn about mechanics.

“He’s obsessed with vehicles and driving them, when he ought not to.”

Mr Routledge said the defendant has used his time in custody usefully, working meticulously in the prison workshops, and has begun to mature.

“He said to me it was a ‘stupid act’, and, ‘why on earth didn’t I just pull up?'

“Unfortunately, he panicked and acted as recklessly as he did.

“There’s always a lesson to be learned and that appears to be reflected in how he has responded while on remand.”

Recorder Checa-Dover told Ferguson: “Once you ram into a car containing a physical person there is a considerable risk to that person in that vehicle.

Read next:

Durham Police arrested uninsured drivers after dangerous chases

'Designated driver', who crashed into wall on A688, spared jail

'Dangerous' Darlington dad let four-year-old son steer van

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“The Probation Service formed the view you are immature, but, I’m told your time in custody has started bringing a change in you.”

She imposed a 30-month prison sentence on Ferguson, who will be banned from driving for 27 months upon his release on licence.

Once the disqualification period has expired he will have to sit an extended re-test should he ever wish to drive lawfully in future.