Jailed: Driver high on drugs who crashed after racing another car at up to 100mph

Daniel Martin
Daniel Martin

A danger driver who crashed after "racing" another vehicle at up to 100mph is behind bars after begging a judge not to lock him up.

Daniel Martin, who was high on cannabis, lost control of his car after driving along the A194 in South Tyneside like an "idiot" on his way to get food from Burger King.

One witness, who saw the 28-year-old and another driver pushing their vehicle's engines "to their limits", said it was an "accident waiting to happen".

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court: "The witness formed the opinion the two were racing each other."

Martin's car ended up on it's side as he tried to negotiate a roundabout after driving at "amazing" speeds.

Another motorist who saw the "race" said he was "amazed no-one had been killed".

Martin, of Owen Drive, Boldon, admitted dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drugs and possessing cannabis.

The court heard Martin has convictions for driving and drugs and was on court orders, including a suspended sentence, at the time of the crash in March.

He told police in interview after the smash he had had "weed" and was travelling from South Shields to Burger King when he "lost control and ended up in a bush".

Mr Recorder Mark McKone said: "One car was tailgating the other with three to four feet between them, one car undertook the other car on a bend.

"You went off fast around a roundabout and you hit a lamppost and the car turned over on its side.

"It doesn't need me to tell you, you could have killed yourself.

"You could also have killed other people."

The judge sentenced Martin, who works in asbestos removal, to a total of 11 months behind bars with a three year driving ban.

As he was about to be led away to start the jail term, Martin "begged" the judge to change his mind and let him go free.

Martin said from the dock: "I have got a lot in my life I am going to lose.

"I can't beg you any more.

"If there is anything I can do to stay out I will do it.

"I haven't slept for weeks, I know what I have done is wrong.

"I am a good lad, I made a massive error of judgement, it was a lapse of concentration.

"I cannot apologise any more.

"You are sending a good lad to jail.

"Jail will ruin my life."

Martin offered to pay fines of up to £5,000 if he was allowed to keep his freedom but the judge said his mind could not be changed.

The judge told him: "You have had chance after chance."

Vic Laffey, defending, said Martin's life was at "breaking point" at the time but his situation has massively improved since.

Mr Laffey added: "He is to be thankful he is still alive.

"His car was damaged but thankfully he was not injured and neither was anyone else."

After the case, Chief Inspector Julian Bowran, of Northumbria Police Southern Area Command, said: "I'm glad the judge decided to hand down a custodial sentence and send a message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable on our roads.

"The offender in this case put lives at risk when he got behind the wheel that day and it is only through good fortune that nobody was seriously injured or killed.

"Driving while under the influence of drugs is an incredibly serious offence and changes in legislation and investment in new equipment has made it easier than ever before to put this type of offender before the courts.

"This sentencing should send a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with taking drugs and using the road as a playground. We will find you and we will stop you."