A DISQUALIFIED driver has been jailed for leading police on a dangerous high-speed motorway chase described as “a moment of madness” during which a terrified passenger begged him to stop.

Bradford Crown Court heard that self-styled “man with a van” Liam Hirst had driven a customer from Hemsworth to Manchester to collect a bike and was returning via the M62 when he was ordered to stop by police at 6.20pm on July 12 of last year.

Prosecutor Emily Thorbjornsen said Hirst, now 33, told his passenger he was not going to stop as he was a banned driver.

He swerved, overtook the police car, and accelerated to more than 90mph. He left the motorway at junction 26 and drove towards the Chain Bar roundabout before re-joining the motorway via the eastbound slip road.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The exit to Chain Bar The exit to Chain Bar (Image: Google Street View)

The resultant 11-minute chase was caught on camera.

He undertook other vehicles on the entry slip before joining the motorway and hitting speeds of more than 90mph.

He ignored signs warning of roadworks, weaved in and out of busy traffic, cut across lanes narrowly avoiding a collision, and drove through roadworks at more than 80mph.

He continued to weave in and out of traffic, forced other cars onto the hard shoulder and then drove himself on the hard shoulder at speeds of more than 105mph.

As one police car drove at the van’s nearside and another followed behind, Hirst turned and collided with the patrol car. His van span out of control, hit signs on the grass verge, overturned, and then landed back on its correct side.

During the pursuit the passenger recorded the terrifying journey on his mobile phone and could be heard begging Hirst to stop and not to kill him, telling him he had a daughter and was scared for his life.

Miss Thorbjornsen said: “At one point he waved his hands out of the window of the van to the police gesturing to the police to slow down because he feared it was making [Hirst’s] driving worse.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The case was heard at Bradford Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

The passenger received minor injuries in the collision with the police car, but Hirst suffered multiple fractures including a broken pelvis, femur, ankle, two ribs, and two vertebrae that put him in hospital for a week.

The cost of damage to the police car was put at almost £10,000.

In an interview, Hirst, of Regina Crescent, Havercroft, Wakefield, accepted he was the driver and became upset when watching footage of the pursuit.

Mitigating, Fen Greatley-Hirsch described the incident as “an egregious piece of driving” but that Hirst had taken full responsibility. He said he had been candid with the police and had had a “visceral reaction” when shown footage of the chase.

He called it “a moment of madness” and “a very stupid decision” and that Hirst only had himself to blame.

He said: “It is not a decision he would have made in his right mind.

“He has realised now that he is lucky to be alive and not in a wheelchair. He is certainly not going to be driving in this way ever again.”

Sentencing Hirst to 15 months in jail Mr Recorder Simon Kealey KC said it was only through luck that his passenger had escaped serious injury “otherwise you would be facing far more serious charges than this.

“This case is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified in all the circumstances.

“This is almost as bad an offence within this type of offence that could be found in my judgment.”

He banned Hirst from driving for 31 months in total and ordered him to undertake an extended retest at the conclusion of his sentence.