Teenager driver jailed after 80mph Sunderland car chase

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A DANGEROUS driver’s car burst into flames after he smashed into a garden wall during an 80mph chase.

Connor Small, pictured, ignored red lights and speed limits and drove on the wrong side of Sunderland’s roads to get away from police officers who tried to pull him over.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 19-year-old, whose girlfriend was a front-seat passenger, eventually lost control of the Kia, which belonged to his mother, and hit a bollard before smashing into a garden wall at Thornholme Road, Ashbrooke.

Remarkably, nobody was hurt in the smash and police were quickly at the scene to help the occupants get out of the car.

Small, who admitted he had been drinking vodka, but was not over the drink-drive limit when he was tested, admitted dangerous driving and having no insurance on February 29.

Judge John Evans told him: “This was an absolutely appalling piece of driving. That no one was killed as a result is remarkable.”

Judge Evans jailed Small, of Panton Road, Plains Farm, for 10 months.

He added: “It has to be understood if people of your age choose to drive the way you did that night for no good reason, then custody is going to follow.”

Small will be banned from driving for two years and must pass an extended test before he can go back on the roads.

Prosecutor Diane Spence told the court that officers had tried to stop Small when they saw him driving along Premier Road with no headlights on.

Miss Spence said: “They activated blue lights but the vehicle did not stop. The driver made off at speed.”

The court heard Small drove west along the A690 Durham Road, where speed cameras recorded him travelling at twice the 30mph speed limit.

He drove on the wrong side of Silksworth Lane and went the wrong way around a roundabout at Silksworth Way, narrowly missing a vehicle coming in the other direction.

He then went back onto Durham Road where he went through red lights at up to 70mph.

Miss Spence said: “He sped on to 80mph on approach to a left hand bend at Thornholme Road.

“He tried to negotiate the bend but lost control, crossed the central reservation and collided with a Keep Left bollard.

“The car continued and crashed into a garden wall then came to a stop and caught fire.

“The collision happened out of sight of the police officers, however, they came upon the scene and were able to assist the front seat passenger out of the vehicle and also the accused.

“They were able to put the fire out with an extinguisher.”

During police interview Small admitted he had been “driving like an idiot,” and said he had panicked when he saw the police were trying to pull him over.

Lewis Kerr, defending, said Small has been honest about what he did from the start and pleaded guilty when the case got to court.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho