Danger driver dragged female police officer along the road after speeding off from roadside check

Downing

Downing

A dangerous driver who dragged a female police officer alongside his vehicle in a bid to avoid arrest has been jailed.

Jamie Downing, 23, was parked up on Whitchurch Road in Sunderland when he was approached by Police Community Support Officer Jill McNamara, who suspected he was driving without a licence or insurance.

She opened the door of Downing's red Toyota Yaris to speak to check his documents, at which point he put the vehicle in reverse, and slammed his foot on the accelerator with the driver door still open - dragging PCSO McNamara for around 20ft.

Downing's vehicle

Downing's vehicle

PC McNamara, who works with response teams in Southern Area Command, said: "I was carried on the driver's door and flung to the ground. I was luck that the car didn't carry on reversing otherwise I would have been caught underneath and have suffered serious injuries."

Luckily she was not seriously injured during the incident, but Downing managed to get away from officers during the incident at around 5pm on July 27 this year.

The case was subsequently passed on to Northumbria Police's Op Dragoon team, who were able to identify Downing as the driver and a high profile target for the Motor Patrols enforcement team. He was subesequently arrested and charged for dangerous driving.

Now Downing, of Wiltshire Road, Witherwhack, Sunderland, has been jailed for 20 weeks and handed a 12 month driving ban following an appearance at Sunderland Magistrates' Court on September 30.

PC Anthony French, who led the investigation, said Downing showed no remorse for his actions right up to the point at which he was thrown behind bars.

He said: "This was reckless and irresponsible behaviour, and Downing is lucky that his actions did not lead to a more serious injury for PCSO McNamara.

"She was carrying out routine checks when Downing took an unnecessary risk that has landed him a far more severe sentence then he would have received if he had co-operated.

"We would have liked to have seen a lengthier custodial sentence, but Downing is now very much on the radar of the Op Dragoon team."

PCSO McNamara added: "This case just shows how unpredictable some drivers can be and rest assured the Op Dragoon team will work closely with area commands to put people like Downing behind bars."

The Op Dragoon team were launched in 2014 and have secured more than 30 years in prison sentences, 140 years worth of driving bans and hundreds more seizures of uninsured vehicles.

Officers work alongside the Motor Patrols department to target high risk drivers across the force area and take them off our roads.

Once a target is on the Op Dragoon radar they will gather intelligence and ensure those motorists most likely to break the rules of the road are put before the court.

Anyone who suspects a dangerous driver, or someone who is driving under the influence of drink or drugs, should contact the Op Dragoon team by contacting 101.