Ilkley driver jailed for Guiseley and Otley car chase

Bradford Crown Court

Bradford Crown Court

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A teenager who led police on a 19-minute, high-speed chase while his pregnant girlfriend screamed at him to stop has been locked up.

John Hewitt sped his brother’s van through Guiseley and Otley at speeds of up to 70mph before colliding with a police car and losing control.

The van, in which his girlfriend was a passenger, then flipped onto its roof, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The court was told that Hewitt, 19, had done 50mph in a 40 zone; 60mph in a 30 zone; driven through Give Way junctions without stopping; gone the wrong way round roundabouts; sped through blind bends and travelled at 70mph down a narrow lane into Otley.

The judge, Recorder Edward Bindloss, said: “This was a prolonged piece of dangerous, bad driving. It was simply good fortune there was nobody injured or killed.”

Hewitt and his girlfriend – who was six months’ pregnant at the time – were not injured in the crash.

The chase started at 11.42pm on April 11 this year after police spotted Hewitt, who has never passed a driving test, speeding and he failed to stop for them. It finished at 12.01am when the van flipped onto its roof.

Recorder Bindloss added: “It is a miracle neither you, your partner or your unborn baby were injured.

“There was excessive speeding, it was of prolonged nature, and there was a vulnerable passenger who was screaming at you to stop and was scared to death according to the police report.”

In mitigation, the court heard that Hewitt was a reformed character after offending as a juvenile.

The court heard that Hewitt had shown remorse for his actions, though he could not explain why he reacted like he did on the night, but it was added: “perhaps panic”.

Hewitt, of Springs Terrace, Ilkley, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving otherwise in accordance with a licence at a hearing on May 8.

Recorder Bindloss sent him to a young offenders’ institution for eight months and disqualified him from driving for two years.

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