A MAN who drove the wrong way along the main A45 dual carriageway at night, despite his tyres being punctured by a police stinger, will miss another Christmas with his young daughters.
Remarkably, Lee Stuart had not long been out of prison after serving a sentence for a similar offence when he had also driven at speed on the wrong side of another dual carriageway.
Now he is back behind bars after pleading guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.
Stuart (23) of Whitworth Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for 16 months for the dangerous driving – the maximum he could be given after being given credit for his plea.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones imposed a consecutive two-month sentence for driving while disqualified and banned him from driving for five years.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that at around 11pm on November 11 police officers saw a Mercedes estate car being driven onto the Tollbar island on the outskirts of Coventry.
There have been extensive roadworks at the busy island, and the Mercedes, driven by Stuart, struck a number of cones and narrowly missed and HGV.
The police began to follow it as the Mercedes, which turned out to have been stolen in a burglary and was on false number plates, continued onto the main A45 towards Rugby.
Ignoring the police car’s blue light and siren, at the junction with Banbury Road, where the speed limit drops to 50mph, Stuart continued at more than 85mph.
Other officers ahead of him laid down a stinger mat at the Ryton roundabout, but despite the Merc’s tyres being impaled and deflated, Stuart continued to drive at 60-70mph.
Struggling to control the car, when he got to the Memorial Roundabout, he went onto the wrong carriageway and continued the wrong way along the unlit 60mph road.
Fearing for the safety of oncoming drivers, offices tried to box the Mercedes in and drove into it to spin it round – only for Stuart to manage to retain control and continue.
But eventually the police managed to box him in and bring him to a halt, and Stuart, who had a 15-year-old passenger in the car, was arrested, but made no comment when he was interviewed.
Mr Windridge pointed out that in May, Stuart, who has convictions going back to when he was just 14, had been jailed for six months for similar offences of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
That had also involved a police chase during which he had driven at high speed along a number of streets in Holbrooks and the wrong way along the Keresley Green Road dual carriageway.
Aadhithya Anbahan, defending, said: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He is very sorry for his actions, but perhaps his words are a little too late.
“There’s not much else that can be said. He has come to the rather late realisation that the only reason he’s in the dock is because of his very rash and very poor decision-making.”
And Miss Anbahan added: “He realises it’s another Christmas his two young daughters will have without him.”
Jailing Stuart, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “You know that in many ways you’re really lucky. If you had killed someone, you would be looking at many years in prison, double figures.
“The further luck you have is that so far Parliament has made the maximum for driving dangerously only two years.
“In view of the gravity of your previous conviction and the gravity of this offence, that is my starting point, but you are entitled to full credit for your early plea.”