Jail for ‘erratic’ Hartlepool driver who ran red lights, mounted footpath and almost crashed into oncoming cars


A DANGER driver forced motorists to swerve out of his way after he led police on a late-night high-speed chase.

Darren Jenkins, 31, went through two red lights, mounted a footpath and nearly collided with oncoming vehicles during the 12-minute pursuit.

Teesside Crown Court heard he “paid absolutely no attention” to pedestrians walking home from the pub as he sped through residential areas of Hartlepool at up to 70mph in a bid to shake off police.

The chase started after police caught Jenkins driving through a red light in York Road, near the junction with Park Road, at 11.20pm on April 10.

Jenkins, driving his girlfriend’s Nissan Qashqai, without a licence, ignored a police car when it turned on its blue light and tried to get him to pull over.

Prosecutor Emma Atkinson described how Jenkins failed to stop at a blind junction in Oxford Road and he reached speeds between 60mph-70mph in Calledonian Road.

He went through another red light in Stockton Road and stopped briefly in Brierton Lane.

But when a police officer got out, Jenkins sped off again leading police on a chase around the Owton Manor area.

Ms Atkinson said: “In Eskdale Road two taxis were forced to swerve to avoid a collision.

“He went over speed bumps at 50mph with little regard to the risks to other road users and pedestrians heading home from the pub.

“His driving had become increasingly erratic.”

Jenkins finally stopped in Wynyard Road where a police dog was set on him and bit him on the left arm.

He later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without a licence or insurance.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said Jenkins’ behaviour had been “impulsive” and the dad-of-three had no previous convictions for driving offences.

He appealed for any prison sentence to be suspended.

But Judge Tony Briggs told Jenkins: “I regret even though you pleaded guilty that’s impossible.”

Jenkins, of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool, was jailed for eight months and given a two-year driving ban.

The judge said there would have been plenty of people on the streets at the time due to local pubs closing.

Judge Briggs added: “You paid absolutely no attention to that at all and drove in a dangerous way for a significant period - 12 minutes - which involved putting a lot of people at risk.