Derbyshire driver chased by cops ‘could easily have killed’ road workers

A banned driver who "panicked" and fled from police “could easily have killed" the road workers he sped past, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 2:17 pm

Joseph Brooks was spotted driving a Ford Fiesta that was insured to an older couple, as he turned on to the A38, on September 1, but accelerated when officers in a marked police car activated their blue lights, said prosecutor Dawn Pritchard.

He overtook "numerous" cars while travelling at 90mph and ran a red traffic light on the A617, before turning left to Pleasley, undertaking a vehicle on a roundabout, and overtaking more cars by driving into oncoming traffic.

Brooks, aged 22, was driving at 70mph when he “forced” his way through traffic that was at a standstill, then drove through temporary traffic lights and past the road workers.

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"The officer formed the opinion he could easily have killed one of them," said Ms Pritchard.

He reached 60 mph on the unmade road and, even when his front tyre "disintegrated," continued to drive at 50mph, overtaking queueing cars by driving down the centre of Common Lane.

"He lost control as more parts of his car flew off," and turned into a farm entrance before getting out and “raising his hands in surrender.”

He later told police he was "scared about going to prison and not seeing his children”.

Brooks has 30 previous convictions for 69 offences, dating back ten years, and received a suspended sentence for driving offences in May this year.

Digby Johnson, mitigating, said Brooks, who has been in custody since September, demonstrated “defective” thinking during the nine-minute chase.

"He doesn't seek forgiveness," he said. "He knows what he did was wrong."

But he asked the judge to give Brooks a chance to show her he could comply with tough probation orders.

Brooks, of Field Drive, Shirebrook, admitted dangerous driving, driving without insurance and while disqualified.

On Wednesday, Judge Rosalind Coe QC told him: "This was an appalling piece of driving and it's only by sheer good luck that someone wasn't injured or killed."

But she noted "the very difficult start you had in life," and postponed passing sentence for five months, on condition he stops smoking cannabis, works towards obtaining a CSCS card and an apprenticeship, and stays out of trouble.