A man with cocaine and stolen petrol in his car led the police on a high-speed chase around Coventry before breaking down in the outside lane of the ring road and making off on foot.
But despite going through red lights, narrowly missing a cyclist on one occasion, Kevin Brown escaped being jailed after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to dangerous driving.
Brown (40) of Jardine Crescent, Tile Hill, Coventry, who also admitted having a bladed article, was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years and disqualified for three years.
Prosecutor Tom Schofield said that at 4.40pm on October 31, 2015, police officers saw a Ford Fiesta in Butts Road.
Their system showed the occupants, Brown and a female passenger, may have been responsible for stealing number plates.
The officers followed the Fiesta into Lower Ford Street where they put on their blue lights and pulled in front of it – only for Brown to reverse at speed to get away.
He drove off, with the police in pursuit, and drove along Hood Street at 45mph before turning into Raglan Street without stopping at the give way line, forcing an oncoming car to brake.
As the chase continued along Raglan Street at 50mph and then along Paynes Lane, Berry Street and King William Street, he overtook a number of vehicles, forcing other drivers to take avoiding action.
In Harnall Lane East he drove the wrong side of keep left bollards and then went through two sets of red lights, narrowly missing another car and a cyclist.
After going through another red light, which the officers considered to be particularly dangerous, he headed onto the ring road before the car came to a stop in the outside lane.
Brown got out and ran into the carriageway at what was approaching the rush hour, but both he and his passenger were arrested.
She almost immediately revealed that she was carrying class A drugs which she said Brown had told her to ‘plug’ during the pursuit.
In the car, the police found a small meat cleaver, a brand-new bike, petrol cans and a set of number plates.
Brown admitted he had been ‘bilking,’ driving off without paying for petrol, having used the number plates to disguise the identity of the car, and that that was why he had not stopped for the police.
Mr Schofield said Brown had also faced charges of driving without a licence, making off without payment and possessing cocaine – but those matters had been dealt with by magistrates who gave him a community order with a curfew.
Mr Schofield added Brown had convictions for 18 offences, mainly old matters.
Charles Crinion, defending, said: “He had a drug problem, and he couldn’t cope with his mother’s death and went into a spiral.
“But since then he has been to the Recovery Partnership and been put on a Methadone script, and is complying with that.”
Sentencing Brown, Recorder Stephen Linehan QC told him: “On that afternoon you drove a car round the streets of Coventry with a complete disregard for the lives and safety of anybody who was using those roads, whether in a vehicle or on foot.
“Children, their mothers, anybody, you drove in a way which could have killed or maimed any of those people – and you cared nothing for them.
“For such conduct the public expects the court to meet with sentences of imprisonment; but I am just persuaded in this case that I can suspend that sentence.”