Children dodge speeding Sunderland police chase driver

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CHILDREN has to leap out of the way of a dangerous driver who fled from police in a high-speed pursuit.

Ryan Hellens panicked when he saw a police car, incorrectly believing he was driving illegally, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

With his pregnant partner in the passenger seat, the 22-year-old reached speeds of 80mph in a residential area of Sunderland.

The court was told that Hellens drove so fast that his car left the ground as it went over speed bumps.

He failed to stop at a roundabout and junctions, and two children had to take evasive action to get out of the direction of his car.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said: “On May 1, just after 7pm, police were on patrol in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

“They spotted a blue Suzuki turning just in front of them.

“The driver took off and sped, turning left.

“Officers illuminated their lights and put on their sirens and followed the vehicle.

“It failed to stop at a roundabout and drove at speed over speed bumps.

“Two children playing in the street took evasive action to miss the car.

“After three miles the defendant finally stopped.”

Hellens, of Partick Road, Pennywell, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Robert Adams, defending, said his client had panicked when he saw the police, mistakenly believing he had no road tax.

Mr Adams added: “He stopped when he realised his driving was putting others at risk.”

Hellens was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, plus 12 months’ probation supervision.

He was also given a three-month curfew between 11pm and 6am and banned from driving for 15 months.

He must also pass an extended driving test in the future.

Passing sentence, Recorder Dean Kershaw said: “You set about a course of driving that could have killed someone. In particular, it could have killed two children.

“You failed to stop at different junctions and a roundabout.

“It is very difficult to understand why you did it. You were fully insured.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho