Hartlepool danger driver raced from police 'like a lunatic' after crashing into 86-year-old man's car

A driver who crashed into another car and sped away from police has been jailed for 10 months.

By Rob Freeth
Tuesday, 07 May, 2019, 09:05
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Lee Mason was told by a judge he had driven 'like a lunatic' in a residential area of Hartlepool.

"When the driver's foot goes down, he goes down," said Judge Sean Morris.

Mason crashed into a car driven by an 86-year-old man, prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court.

"He was waiting at a junction at Marlow Road in Hartlepool," she added.

"His car was hit from behind by an Audi TT driven by this defendant.

"Police were on the scene in a minute, and an officer spotted the damaged Audi in Hart Lane.

"It accelerated away reaching speeds of 70mph in a 20 mph zone, and 80mph in a 30 mph zone.

"The officer comments the car was billowing smoke which meant he had to keep his distance to maintain visibility.

"Mason drove the car onto a pavement, then fled on foot.

"He was caught by other officers, and taken to hospital having suffered a minor injury while fleeing."

The court heard a consultant at James Cook University Hospital gave permission for a blood sample to be taken to be analysed for drink or drugs.

"The defendant refused," said Ms Haigh.

"He said he didn't like needles, although the officer notes he had tattoos."

Mason, 40, of Percy Street, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, and refusing to provide a specimen, all on November 4.

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Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: "There is little I can say about the driving, although it was after 10pm so it doesn't appear other road users were put at risk.

"Fortunately, the driver of the car he hit was not injured.

"He was not thinking straight that night, and suffered an injury jumping over a fence trying to get away.

"Mr Mason has previous convictions, but none for driving offences.

"He has kept out of trouble for long periods, and has the offer of a job."

Judge Morris jailed Mason for 10 months.

The judge told him: "Young people in the Cleveland area must realise when a blue light goes on, they must stop.

"If the driver's foot goes down, he will go down.

"I say this time and again in dangerous driving cases, you are putting the lives of the police at risk.

"They do not know why you are trying to escape, you might have a kilo of drugs in the car or be high on cocaine.

"In this case, you were driving a powerful car and you hit a car driven by an elderly gentleman.

"You fled, for all you knew the other driver could have been seriously injured."

Mason was banned from driving for 17 months, and he must take an extended driving test if he wishes to drive after the ban expires.