A MAN who led officers on a 25-minute chase through three police force areas, during which he drove along a residential Coventry street at a horrifying 90mph, has been jailed.
Darren Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and having no insurance.
The charges follow a chase which started at Weeford near Lichfield and only ended when, after around 25 miles, he crashed into a garden wall in Coventry.
Fitzpatrick (33) of Ashes Road, Rowley Regis, Sandwell, was jailed for a total of 16 months and was banned from driving for three years and eight months.
Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe said: “This was 25 minutes of driving through three force areas from Lichfield to Coventry at in excess of 100pmh and contravening at least two red lights.”
He explained that at night on October 17 Staffordshire officers attempted to stop an Audi A4 being driven by Fitzpatrick at the Weeford island on the A38 near Lichfield.
But there followed a lengthy pursuit as Fitzpatrick failed to stop and headed south into Warwickshire where he overtook other traffic at high speed in the centre of Coleshill.
He then headed along the A446, and at the island at the junction with Coleshill Road he went round the island twice before continuing to head south.
After the M6 junction, he continued along the A446 and then the A452, an unlit dual carriageway, in the outside lane at speeds in excess of 100mph.
He went onto the Stonebridge island at the junction with the A45 without slowing down, and continued towards Balsall Common at high speed.
At the next traffic island Fitzpatrick turned off into Cornets End Lane after overtaking another car on the island, forcing that driver to brake hard to avoid a collision.
He continued along Cornets End Lane, a single carriageway road, at up to 80mph, repeatedly crossing the white lines on the winding roads.
“He came to a sudden stop in the centre of the road, and then came speeding back towards the officer in an attempt to ram the police car, but the officer managed to reverse back to avoid an impact.
“The defendant did that twice, and then drove off again,” said Mr Amarasinghe.
Fitzpatrick sped through Berkswell and along Spencers Lane onto Tanners Lane as he headed towards Tile Hill, Coventry, at up to 85mph.
After going through at red light at the junction with Banner Lane at 60, he continued along Tile Hill Lane, a 30mph residential road, at speeds in excess of 90.
But at the junction with Knights Templar Way he lost control of the Audi and crashed into a garden wall at the end of a pursuit that had lasted 25 minutes.
Fitzpatrick, who had a number of previous convictions and was on licence after his release from a sentence of five years and three month imposed at Wolverhampton Crown Court for robbery, tried to run, but was caught and arrested.
Curtin Myrie, defending, said: “Mr Fitzpatrick accepts he drove dangerously. He panicked and was fearful because he was on licence and knew he’d be going back to prison, and he made the wrong decision to flee.”
He said that after his release on licence, Fitzpatrick had made a decision to turn his life around, and he had held down a job for a year and obtained a flat in Harry Price House, on the Lion Farm Estate in Oldbury.
But Mr Myrie added: “He is realistic and knows he’s going to be receiving a custodial sentence today.”
Jailing Fitzpatrick, Recorder Michelle Heeley QC told him: “You have pleaded guilty to an appalling course of dangerous driving from Lichfield to Coventry at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour.
“Quite frankly, it’s a miracle no-one was killed, and to say you panicked is simple not good enough. This was a prolonged course of very bad driving.”