AN “extraordinarily dangerous” driver has been jailed for trying to outrun the police on two different occasions and crashing his car each time.
Ian Gillard rammed a police car during the first chase on a country lane near Tiverton and went at 70mph through narrow residential roads with 20mph limits during the second.
The first pursuit ended when he lost control on a bend and crashed into the wall of a building and the second when he hit a kerb, spun round, and ended up facing the wrong way on a busy street in Exeter.
He was already banned from driving during the first pursuit in November and under police investigation for that offence when he committed the second offence in April.
He fled the scenes of both crashes but was arrested after being chased down by police on the second occasion. He was obviously drunk but refused to take a breath test.
Gillard, aged 33, originally from Copplestone, near Crediton, but now of Narrow Lane, Tiverton, admitted two offences of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified, failing to stop, and having no insurance.
He was jailed for 18 months, banned from driving for a further three years after his release and ordered to take an extended retest by Recorder Miss Hannah Willcocks at Exeter Crown Court.
She told him: “During the second offence, your driving was very prolonged and very dangerous. It was sheer good fortune that nobody was injured in the process.
“It was deliberate and persistent dangerous driving while disqualified in attempts to evade the police and resulted in two collisions. The risk you posed was extraordinarily high because there were members of the public on pavements while you were speeding at 70mph in 20mph zones.”
Miss Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said the first pursuit happened on the night of November 16 on Longdrag Hill, which leads out of Tiverton towards Chulmleigh and Winkleigh.
Police tried to stop Gillard’s silver Audi A3 but he sped off into the countryside.
He pretended to pull into a layby but then reversed out at speed, clipping the police car, and headed back into Tiverton where he crashed into a wall and fled, leaving a female passenger in the car.
He was later identified but denied being the driver and was released under investigation. He was in the same car on April 7 this year when police saw him speeding in Western Way, Exeter and tried to stop him.
This time he led them on a high speed chase in which the police reached 80 but were unable to catch him. He went into narrow streets off Topsham Road and drove the wrong way down Wonford Street at pace.
Gillard had already clipped one building but the chase only ended on Barrack Road where he spun his car and police were able to block him in.
He tried to flee on foot and resisted police, who had to taser him. Officers said he was obviously drunk.
Mr William Parkhill, defending, said the offences happened during a difficult time in Gillard’s life during which a relationship broke up and he lost his job in traffic management.
He is addressing issues of cocaine and alcohol abuse while on remand and hopes to work in the building industry on his release.