A FATHER-of-one who crashed a stolen car on Huddersfield ring road has been jailed for a total of 33 months.
Panicking drug addict Barry McGrath drove off in the stolen Fiat Punto when he was spotted by a police officer in a patrol car within minutes of the vehicle being taken from its owner.
The unlicensed 30-year-old, of Madison Avenue, Bradford, drove through mid-day traffic in Huddersfield town centre before eventually ending up on the wrong carriageway of the ring road at Castlegate and crashing head-on into a taxi and a Lexus car.
Prosecutor Paul Nicholson told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that the taxi driver was injured in the collision.
He directed Judge Roger Scott to photographs of the damage caused to the three vehicles.
During the police pursuit in March, McGrath drove through red lights and caused damage to two other cars when he drove between them.
Judge Scott noted that the day before the incident, McGrath had appeared before Bradford magistrates for breaching a community sentence in respect of an offence of taking a vehicle without consent.
The magistrates had ordered him to do 10 more hours of community service work.
McGrath pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and handling the stolen Fiat.
In a letter handed in to Judge Scott he accepted that he had shown complete disregard for public safety.
McGrath wrote: “Thank God no-one was seriously injured or worse killed.”
Judge Scott said: “You could have killed yourself. You could have killed other people.
“You went through red lights. You were the getaway driver seeking to get away in panic.”
Judge Scott said the maximum sentence for dangerous driving was still only two years after a trial.
He said: “There have been observations made that the dangerous driving sentence maximum of two years is wholly inadequate. This case illustrates that entirely.
“It is the only offence that I know of, of a serious kind in the motoring calendar, that has not had its sentence increased in the 40 years of being in this job.”
McGrath was sentenced to 16 months in jail for handling the stolen Fiat with a further 17 months behind bars for the offence of dangerous driving.
He was banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended test before lawfully driving again.