Danger driver rammed taxi off road before speeding away at 100mph leading police in car chase

Saqib Zaman

Saqib Zaman

A drink-driver rammed a taxi off the road then sparked a 23 minute police chase at speeds of over 100mph in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Saqib Zaman stopped the Audi S3 he was driving after he crashed into a cab but then removed his vehicle's number plates and rammed the taxi out of the way so he could drive off.

The 26-year-old, who was twice the drink-drive limit, drove at more than 100mph along the Felling bypass and, even after multiple police cars were on his tail, continued at dangerously high speed through Boldon, Sunderland and onto the A19.

He eventually stopped, after a 23 minute pursuit, during which drove through red lights and traveled at high speed through built up areas, when his vehicle was "boxed in" by four police cars on the main road.

A judge said it was a "miracle" nobody was injured or killed. The taxi ramming incident took place on the High Level Bridge in Newcastle

Zaman, of St. Leonards Sreet, Bradford, pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident, driving while over the alcohol limit, having no insurance and failing to stop when required to do so.

Judge Robert Adams sentenced him to 18 months behind bars with a 27 month road ban.

The judge told him: "You were pursued by a series of police vehicles, knowing you had already caused a crash and rammed a vehicle out of the way.

"Although this was the middle of the night, your speeds were so fast that the danger you posed was enormous.

"Your speeds were in excess of 100mph and between 70-90 through Boldon.

"It is a miracle no serious accident was caused and no-one suffered great loss, was killed or seriously injured by your driving.

"It was an appalling act of very fast driving."

The court heard Zaman had been Newcastle city cente with friends during the new year celebrations and got behind the wheel in the early hours after
drinking in pubs and bars.

He crashed into a cab on the High Level Bridge, which had no access to private vehicles and is open only to buses and taxis.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: "Having collided with a taxi, having been where he should not have been in the first place, he then picked up
his number plates and put them in the boot of the Audi and rammed the taxi out of the way, before making off into Gateshead, driving through a red light as
he did so."

The court heard the cabbie suffered minor injuries and had to wait for his car to be towed away.

Zaman's car drew the attention of the police as he travelled along the Felling bypass and the officers illuminated blue lights in a bid to get him to stop.

Miss Dowling said: "At that point he made off at speed. He traveled along the A184 Felling bypass, going though red lights a Heworth roundabout,
exceeding speeds of 100mph."

The court heard Zaman drove to Testo roundabout and went through two more red lights as he headed to Boldon.

Miss Dowling added: "Boldon is an area with a 30mph speed limit. He was travelling at speeds of anything between 70mph and 90mph."

Zaman's car travelled from Boldon on to Sunderland, along Keir Hardie Way, and then back out of the city and onto the A19.

Miss Dowling said: "What happened on the A19 is that two police officers managed to get in front of the defenant's vehicle and two behind, boxed him in."

The court heard some of the chase was captured on CCTV from the police vehicles.

Miss Dowling added: "From Heworth to where he stopped was 23 minutes."

Zaman was taken to the police station and breath tests showed he was twice the legal drink-drive limit.

Shufquat Khan, defending, said Zaman has a pregnant partner, sick mother and a sister who all rely on him.

Mr Khan said Zaman, who worked at a car valeting firm for prestige motors, did not own the Audi he was driving but had permission from the owner to use it.

Mr Khan said Zaman had not planned to drive that night but his "judgement was clouded by drink", which he bitterly regrets.

Mr Khan added: "He has a lot to lose."