Garage boss fled from police at 90mph and smashed into road sign

Steven Lee
Steven Lee

A garage boss “wrapped his van around” a speed restriction sign after fleeing from police at 90mph.

Steven Lee sparked a chase when patrol officers spotted him driving a white Astra van at “high speed” along King George Road in South Shields.

The 35-year-old, who said he simply “panicked”, refused to stop for police blue lights and sirens, performed an illegal U-turn at a roundabout and swerved between lanes at speeds of up to 90mph.

It was as he left a roundabout on the John Reid Road in the town that Lee lost control.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the Newcastle Crown Court: “He collided with a speed restriction pole.

“As the officers pulled alongside they could see damage to the van.

“The two near-side tyres were burst and the metal pole was wrapped around the rear wheels.”

The court heard the streets were quiet at the time of the smash, which happened just after midnight on November 30 last year.

But Judge Sarah Mallett told Lee he “could have seriously harmed somebody”.

Lee, who is a manger at his father’s garage business, who has old convictions for driving offences but has been out of trouble since 2011, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop and possessing a small amount of amphetamine.

Judge Mallett told him: “On the John Reid Road you were travelling at speed of around 90mph.

“When you left the roundabout you left the carriageway, hit a sign and basically wrapped your vehicle around the sign.

“It is clear form the description of your driving that the main aggravating factor of the offences was the totally excessive speed at which you were travelling, in areas where it was good fortune, rather than anything on your part, that there was no other traffic, no pedestrians, no other road users to place at risk.”

Judge Mallett sentenced Lee to nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with a night time curfew, 200-hours unpaid work and two year driving ban.

The court heard the crash happened, at a roundabout at the junction of the John Reid Road with Dykelands Way and Winskell Road. David Parish, defending, said Lee, of Peareth Terrace, Birtley, “panicked” when he saw the police and was at a low ebb at the time but will accept help.