Danger driver jailed after narrowly missing pedestrian in Hexham

Motor menace Joe Brown "travelled at speed" through Hexham, Northumberland, while high on drink and drugs

Joe Brown (inset) appeared at Newcastle Crown Court
Joe Brown (inset) appeared at Newcastle Crown Court

Danger driver Joe Brown narrowly missed a pedestrian when he sped through a busy town centre.

High on drink and drugs, the 20-year-old led police on a chase through Hexham, in Northumberland, on a busy Monday morning in a car he’d taken from his mother.

The motor menace, who has a string of past convictions for aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified, was going at such speed in the built-up town that officers couldn’t safely keep up.

And Brown’s driving was so dangerous, a pedestrian had to jump out of his way and he hit two cars during the mile-long journey, which ended with him abandoning the car and fleeing the scene.

Now, Brown, of Princess Louise Street, Blyth, has been jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and driving with no insurance at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Recorder of Durham Judge Christopher Prince said: “You were drunk and you had been taking drugs.

“You took your mother’s car keys and set about driving her motor vehicle through the centre of Hexham. You could have killed persons by the manner you were driving.”

Judge Prince added: “It speaks about the manner of your driving that the police couldn’t keep up with you. You were driving at speed and you cut through a car park, causing a pedestrian to jump out of the way. You had damaged other vehicles.

“You went across a mini-roundabout causing other vehicles to brake.

“At that time, Hexham is full of people. Your driving was appalling. You could have seriously injured or killed pedestrians, shoppers, children or anybody unable to avoid your car.”

Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting, said the offence happened at around 10am on March 30 after Brown had taken his mother’s Renault Megane car without her knowledge.

He said: “The defendant is seen in the vehicle in the car park of Wentworth Leisure Centre.

“At that point, it’s being driven normally. However, a police vehicle was behind the defendant as he drove to Peth Head and he became aware of marked police cars. This brought about a change in the driving.

“He tried to get away from officers. He drove at speed to Hadrian Veterinary Surgery, where there is a car park that people drive through as a short cut. He forced his way through two vehicles and caused damage to them and his vehicle.

“He continued through the car park and someone walking through had to take evasive action and jump back out of the way of the defendant.”

The court heard Brown then drove over a mini-roundabout on Priestpopple before abandoning the car on Gibson Fields.

Jamie Adams, mitigating, said Brown had a reputation as a tearaway but was changing his ways. He said: “He’s moved to Blyth to get himself away from his peers.”

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