Learner driver raced through red lights and crashed with patrol car after sparking police chase
A learner driver sparked a police chase when he went out in a car with pals during lockdown because he missed "social interaction".
Adam McArdle had no licence or insurance when he got behind the wheel of a Hyundai on April 19, when the whole country was under orders to make only essential journeys.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the vehicle came to the attention of the police near Penshaw monument in Sundreland because it was not insured.
When officers tried to pull the car over, 19-year-old McArdle drove off at speed, travelled at up to 50mph in 30mph zones, went through two red lights and refused to pull over.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court there was a minor crash with a police car after a stinger device was deployed.
Mr Pallister said: "Officers deployed a stinger device.
"The Hyundai drove over it and it began to slow right down.
"A police officer was able to pull his vehicle in front of the Hyundai and brought it to a stop.
"There followed a collision between the police vehicle and the Hyundai as it came to a stop, causing minor damage to both vehicles."
McArdle, of Athol Park, Sunderland, admitted he had "panicked" and tried to get away from the police because the car was not insured.
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
Mr Recorder Craig Hassall said: "It was the 19th of April, people were not supposed to be making any journeys that were not essential."
The judge sentenced McArdle to a 12-month community order with rehabilitation requirements, 180-hours unpaid work, a 12-month road ban and forfeited the car.
The judge told him: "You panicked and you did something that was completely stupid.
"Getting into the car in the first place was fairly stupid."
Annalisa Moscardini, defending, told the court: "He was out with a group of friends, I think he was missing social interaction.
"There's no suggestion there was anything untoward other than driving in the car.
"He accepts he should not have been out."
Miss Moscardini said McArdle has never been in trouble before, has a good work record, a stable relationship and has no drug or alcohol problems.
She added: "This was stupid and dangerous on his part and he is very, very regretful of his actions that day.
"He has never been in trouble with the police at all."