Dangerous Sunderland driver leapt from moving car – leaving screaming passengers inside

Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
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A danger driver leapt from his moving car and left passengers screaming inside the runaway vehicle in a bid to get away from the police.

Daniel Atkinson, who had just a provisional licence, had bought a Ford Fiesta for “fun” and was out driving in Washington with two pals in the car in the early hours of July 13.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 21-year-old sped off when police pulled up their vehicle beside his and started asking questions.

After driving over the limit and on the wrong side of the road, Atkinson jumped out of the moving car, leaving his passengers to fend for themselves.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: “He decamped from the vehicle while it was still moving.

“As he ran to a nearby garage, the Fiesta continued to roll on before coming to a stop.

“Police describe being able to hear the two remaining passengers in the vehicle screaming as the car moved with them in, but with no-one in the driver’s seat.”

Atkinson, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, who had climbed onto a garage roof, was arrested nearby.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Mr Recorder Duncan Smith sentenced him to a community order for 18 months with programme requirements and a three-month night-time curfew.

Atkinson was banned from the roads for 12 months and must pass an extended driving test before he can get back behind the wheel.

The judge said it was a “shocking piece of driving” and added: “This bit of fun is going to cost you dearly.

“You are very fortunate it didn’t cause any injury or cost them their lives.

“You are an unpractised and unskilled driver. You had no right to buy that vehicle when you did not have a full licence.”

Jamie Adams, defending, said Atkinson had “panicked” and is sorry for his behaviour.

Mr Adams added: “He was seeking to have fun with it. It is unlikely this court will see him again.”