Watch Sunderland teen who took cannabis drive at up to '70mph in a 20mph zone’ and on wrong side of road in police pursuit

A teen dangerous driver drove at more than three times the speed limit during a police pursuit.

By Alex Storey
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:19 pm

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Johnny Watson, who had no licence, had also taken cannabis before he got behind the wheel in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 19-year-old sped off when he spotted police before driving on the wrong side of the road and dangerously through traffic calming measures.

Prosecutor Marte Alnaes said: "On February 21, a police officer was on duty in a stationary marked police vehicle on Grindon Road when he saw the defendant's vehicle driving in direction of the A183.

Johnny Watson.

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"He stated he started following the defendant who started accelerating and driving on the wrong side of the road.

"He continued to drive at speeds of about 70mph in a 20mph zone. He entered a junction at 50mph.

"He continued driving the wrong way around a roundabout on Pennywell Road.

"Pennywell is a built-up area and had speed limits of 20mph. Despite this, the defendant was driving at speeds of over 70mph."

The court heard Watson eventually lost control of his car and collided with a wall but was quickly detained by police after he tried to run off.

Ms Alnaes added: "At this point the officer noted the defendant appeared under the influence of something.

"The defendant admitted he had used cannabis.

"When he was taken to the police station he was asked to provide a sample of blood for evidence which he refused.

"He said he had already told them he had smoked green and that was it."

Watson, of Portsmouth Road in Sunderland, admitted to dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen for analysis, driving without a licence and without third-party insurance.

Shada Mellor, mitigating, said: "The defendant was 19 when he committed these offences.

"What would be beneficial is if this young man could be given the opportunity to work with probation and undertake relevant courses so he can, in future, make better decisions.

"He does tell me he deeply regrets his actions."

Judge Julie Clemitson told Watson, who had no previous convictions: "You have to be sentenced for dangerous driving and a host of other driving offences.

"You were driving illegally because you didn't have insurance or licence to drive.

"A pursuit took place where you drove at a ridiculous speed.

"Traffic calming's are measures on these roads for a reason and when you drove at that sort of speed you were then it makes your driving all the more dangerous.

"Fortunately for you, no one was hurt by your dangerous driving and no damage was caused to anyone else's property it seems."

The judge sentenced Watson to ten months behind bars, suspended for 18 months and was banned from driving for one year.

He must also carry out 120 hours of community service and 30 rehabilitation activity days.