A senior West Yorkshire judge has hit out at the mayhem being caused by dangerous drivers in the region as he locked up a rookie motorist who was involved in a hair-raising police pursuit.
Craig O’Hara claimed that he had bought a Vauxhall Vectra for £300 through Facebook so he could sleep in it after he being kicked out of his home.
The 31-year-old, who had no licence or insurance, said he only drove the car for the first time when he was asked to move it from outside the house last month.
When he was quizzed by a probation officer about how he managed to drive the car if he had never driven before he replied: “I figured it out.”
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was shown dashcam footage from the police car which pursued the Vectra at speeds up to 60mph through residential streets in Halifax.
During the mid-afternoon incident O’Hara, who had a passenger in the car, failed to stop when the officers put on their blue lights in the Pellon Lane area.
The dashcam footage showed other road users taking evasive action to avoid the Vectra which went the wrong way round a roundabout and ran a red light.
The pursuit came to an end when the Vectra made a left turn and crashed into the front of an on-coming car.
O’Hara, of Brewery Street, Boothtown, Halifax, tried to run off but he was arrested after a short foot chase.
He pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving without a licence and without insurance and was jailed for 10 months.
Judge Durham Hall also banned him from driving for two years and five months and ordered him to take an extended driving test at the end of the disqualification period.
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The judge said the footage showed a hair-raising pursuit involving high speeds over a relatively prolonged period.
“These things are measured in minutes but there is a lot of action and potential death situations as you tore along narrow residential roads causing other traffic to take evasive action,” he told O’Hara.
“Your speeds were those of a mad man. You were doing everything you could, regardless of the risk of death or injury to yourself, your passenger and others, to get away come what may.
“You know what the view is in this city and Halifax and the Calder Valley. We have such a problem with the mayhem being caused by dangerous drivers and yours is a bad example.”