Teenage danger driver smashed into police car and went the wrong way up the A19 during police chase topping 120mph

A danger driver who committed his first motoring offence at 14 was found hiding in bushes after a 120mph A19 police chase.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 17:09

Over a 20-mile chase in the rain at night, Liam Facey had "drifted between lanes" on the A19 at high speed, drove through a red light, and travelled the wrong way along the dual carriageway.

The 19-year-old road menace, who committed his first driving offence at age just 14 and was banned from driving, reversed his uninsured BMW towards a police and the officer behind the wheel had to take action to avoid a collision.

Newcastle Crown Court.

He then rammed his car into another police vehicle, causing damage, and sent the open door flying into an officer's leg.

A National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter was dispatched to assist officers on the ground and the crew were able to direct them to the suspect.

The police helicopter continued to follow the silver BMW 318ti until Facey turned off the road and abandoned the vehicle.

He fled into woodland and NPAS were able to direct police search teams to the area where Facey had fled.

Danger driver Liam Facey has been jailed for 14 months.

PC Helen Kane and her six-year-old police dog Ziva were dispatched in the area guided by the helicopter crew.

Within minutes, the Belgian Herder had found him hiding in the woods and the moment was captured on camera.

Facey, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop for police.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Sarah Mallett sentenced Facey to 14 months behind bars with a two year and seven months road ban.

The judge said Facey appeared to "enjoy listening to the prosecution account" of his dangerous driving when the case was outlined.

Judge Mallett told him: "This was a prolonged and deliberate course of dangerous driving, involving greatly excessive speed and significant disregard of the risk to others.

"You have never had a driving licence.

"Fortunately, only minor injury was sustained."

The court heard Facey's bad driving started on John Reid Road in South Shields, where police pulled him over but he refused to stop.

Judge Mallett said: "During your driving, you drove through a red light, you drove on the A19 at speeds of up to 100mph, then eventually up to 120mph.

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"At times, you were drifting between lanes and at various stages you were travelling the wrong way along the A19.

"You travelled at 100mph through road works where there was a temporary limit of 40mph.

"You reversed towards a police vehicle and collision was only avoided by the police officer's evasive action.

"You drove towards a police vehicle and collided with an open door, which caught a police officer's leg, causing soreness and a red mark.

"You continued to drive and went the wrong way around a roundabout.

"You then abandoned the vehicle and tried to escape."

Stuart Graham, defending, said Facey has taken no drugs while in prison and hopes to gain qualifications to allow him to work with motor vehicles as a future career.

Mr Graham said Facey is grieving the loss of his father but has "turned a corner" while remanded in custody and is looking towards a "fresh start".

Speaking after the last court hearing, Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, of Northumbria Police's Motor Patrols Department, said: "This pursuit started in the early hours of the morning. It was pitch black and pouring down with rain, so the conditions were very difficult.

"The driver knew that he had been caught inside an uninsured car and was prepared to do anything necessary to avoid being arrested by police.

"It is through sheer luck that he was not involved in a serious accident and the manner of his driving put the lives of other innocent road users at risk.

"In fact, his driving was that dangerous that our officers were left with no choice but to abandon the pursuit to try and reduce the risk to other cars.

"It was during this time that Liam Facey took the opportunity to abandon the vehicle so that he could take cover in woodlands just off the A19.

"What he didn't consider was just how good our police dogs can be and PD Ziva was quickly able to catch his scent and find him hiding in some bushes."

The NPAS helicopter was deployed from Newcastle, one of 14 NPAS bases supporting police forces across England and Wales.

Ian Vause, Assistant Operations Director for NPAS in the North East, added: "Vital information can be passed to ground units by an NPAS helicopter crew overhead, allowing for effective tactics to be used.

"I’m pleased our crew were able to assist Northumbria Police in bringing this dangerous driver to justice."