Driver high on cocaine fled police after A19 horror smash left two people with fractured backs

Colin Cook
Colin Cook

A speeding driver caused a horror crash that left two people with fractured backs as he tried to get away from the police while high on cocaine.

Officers suspected Colin Cook's bad driving was through either drink or drugs when they spotted him on the A19 at Easington, so gave chase.

Newcastle Crown Court heard in his bid to get away, Cook, who had taken cocaine and diazepam before he got behind the wheel, lost control of his car and sent it flying up onto the central reservations, where it repeatedly flipped over.

Two cars crashed into Cook's Fiat Punto, resulting in a catalogue of painful injuries.

Debris and drugs from Cook's motor were scattered along the carriageway.

Prosecutor Barry Robson told the court Cook's then girlfriend Nicola Potter, who was a passenger in his Punto, suffered two painful fractures to her spine and a man also travelling in the car was left with a broken arm.

Thomas Smith, who had been driving his wife's Citroen, which was written-off, suffered fractures to his spine, hip and sternum. He needed time off work and lost out financially.

The passengers in a third vehicle suffered whiplash injuries in the crash.

Cook, of Dunkirk Avenue, Houghton le Spring, who was on a suspended prison sentence at the time, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drugs and driving with no insurance.

Mr Recorder Andrew Haslam sentenced him to two-and-a-half years behind bars with a two year road ban.

The judge said: "The effect of your driving that evening was such as to cause serious injury to two other innocent road users while you had consumed a large quantity of drugs.

"There are a number of aggravating features, the consumption of drugs, excessive speed of driving, likelihood that others warned you about your driving, you were not insured to drive the car, you failed to stop when police officers illuminated blue flashing lights, you caused serious injury to two people and this was committed during the currency of a suspended sentence."

Prosecutor Barry Robson told the court it was on September 26, 2014, police saw Cook's Punto pulling out of Easington services on the northbound A19 and decided to pursue it.

Mr Robson said: "They illuminated the police vehicle's flashing blue lights, but the fiat Punto failed to stop."

Mr Robson said in an effort to evade the officers, Cook tried to pull his Punto into what he thought was a slip road but turned out to be a lay-by and lost control of his vehicle.

The Punto ended up mounting the central crash barrier, while continuing to travel north.

Mr Robson said: "As it was travelling on top of the barrier, it also started to roll at that stage."

The court heard the car rolled along the central reservation for over seventy metres and travelled a further 115 metres, while still out of control, when it got back on the road before the three-car smash.

Jamie Adams, defending, said Cook felt such shock at what he caused he was unable to view photographs from the scene.

Mr Adams said Cook was struggling to cope with a relationship breakdown at the time of the crash but now works hard in his employment as a foreman and no longer takes drugs.

He added: "He does show remorse for what happened."