A VAN driver who sped through the centre of Evesham at 70mph has been jailed for nine months after admitting he could have killed someone.
Daniel Whittaker said he had taken “stupid risks” as he tried to get away from police who were trying to stop him.
The 21-year-old from Alcester was also banned from driving for two years at Warwick Crown Court, after earlier pleading guilty to charges of dangerous driving, having no licence and driving without insurance.
The court heard on July 11 police were on the look-out for Whittaker’s white Transit van when they saw it heading along the A46 towards Evesham about 11.45am.
Officers, who were in an unmarked car, put on their blue lights and siren, and pulled alongside the van.
Whittaker, who had two passengers, a man and a woman, gave them the thumbs-up – but then suddenly accelerated away and crossed the central reservation into the face on oncoming traffic.
He then went the wrong way around a roundabout and headed at speed towards oncoming traffic and onto the A44.
As he entered the town he drove along 30mph roads at more than double the speed limit, most of the time in the middle or on the wrong side of the road, causing oncoming traffic to swerve, prosecutor Jason Pegg told the court.
He then sped through a red light at the junction of Worcester Road and the A4184 before finally stopping in St Egwin’s Road and running off.
His passengers were detained at the scene, but Whittaker was not arrested until 11 days later.
The court heard when he was questioned by police about his driving Whittaker did show remorse.
“I panicked, I was scared. I’ve been to prison three times, and didn’t want to go back,” he said.
“The driving was crazy, horrific. I could have killed someone. I was taking stupid risks.”
Nick Devine, defending, said: “The three most compelling matters of mitigation are his age, his plea and his complete and utter and unusual level of frankness during his interview.
“He showed a mature level of insight into his behaviour, and it is clear he was demonstrating genuine remorse.”
Mr Devine said after serving his last sentence, Whittaker was determined to steer clear of alcohol and drug misuse and to repair his relationship with his family.
He said he went back to live with his parents, found employment and bought the van with a friend, with the aim of using it to do painting and decorating work, but panicked when the police tried to stop him because he had no licence.
On jailing Whittaker, Recorder William Mousley QC, said: “You drove in an absolutely terrible way, as you recognise.
“I am not persuaded the sentence I pass can be suspended. You have recently demonstrated your ambivalence to court orders.
“The time has come for you to start making your own decisions on how you live your life.
“The probation service has invested quite enough time and energy on you in the past.”