A car thief who stole two Audis and raced around the streets in them both has been jailed.
Keith Casey lost control of the first car and smashed it into the front of a bungalow in Hartlepool after a police chase, Teesside Crown Court heard.
He spun out of control on the A19 in the second car, coming to rest facing the wrong way on the dual carriageway.
“A following lorry only just managed to stop,” said Rod Hunt, prosecuting.
“A police patrol saw Casey driving northbound on the A19 near Wolviston. He lost control of the car a short distance later.”
Casey stole the other Audi from outside a house in Hartlepool, the court heard.
“A witness described seeing sparks coming from the car in Throston Grange Lane,” added Mr Hunt.
“He describes it ploughing through the front garden wall of a bungalow, coming to rest against the bungalow’s front window.
“The witness thought the driver would have been killed or seriously injured, but to his surprise he saw a man he recognised to be Keith Casey get out of the car and run away.
“Police found Casey a few hours later in a nearby house.”
Casey 32, of Southgate, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving on January 9, and he admitted aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving on November 27, both last year.
He denied burglary of the house from which the Audi he crashed into the bungalow was taken.
The owner of the car told a jury it was locked on her drive, with the keys left in the back of her front door with her house keys.
Casey was alleged to have climbed in to the house through a small window.
He told the jury he had seen the car on the drive with its lights on, approached it, and driven off in it when he saw the keys in the ignition.
The jury found him not guilty of burglary.
Laurie Scott, mitigating, said: “Mr Casey’s family is well-known to the courts and he has fallen into the same cycle of offending.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel.
“He is taking advantage of the help available to him inside to enable him to lead a lawful life when he is released.”
Recorder Henry Prosser jailed Casey for 27 months and said: “You have a dreadful record for motoring offences, and you must realise you cannot steal cars, drive them as you wish, putting the lives of others at risk.”