Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Driver Who Fled Police on Wrong Side of Road Jailed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Driver Who Fled Police on Wrong Side of Road Jailed

Article excerpt

Byline: Sara Nichol Reporter sara.nichol@ncjmedia.co.uk SaraNichol10

ADRIVER who flouted red lights and drove on the wrong side of the road as he took police on a 20-minute chase has been jailed.

Leos Sibanda, also known as Nokaneng, crashed into two cars and forced other vehicles to swerve as he clocked speeds of up to 60mph in a 30 zone on several roads in South East Northumberland.

Behind the wheel of his girlfriend's Range Rover Vogue, the 26-year-old refused to stop as he led police on a dangerous pursuit in parts of Cramlington, Seaton Delaval and Holywell. A court was told he ignored red lights, including at the busy Moor Farm Roundabout, drove on the wrong side of the road, swerved across lanes and forced oncoming traffic to break as he attempted to evade officers because he was uninsured and carrying cannabis. As previously reported, Sibanda, of Victoria Mews, Blyth, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at a hearing last month at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court.

However, magistrates deemed their powers were insufficient and sent him to Newcastle Crown Court for sentence.

Jailing him for 11 months on Thursday, Judge Penny Moreland told him: "When you saw the police wished you to stop and motivated by the not being insured on the car and having possession of cannabis, you decided to avoid the police.

"For the next 20 minutes, you drove in an extremely dangerous fashion. It's only by good fortune that nobody was extremely badly injured by what you did."

The court heard Sibanda was driving along the A189 towards the Moor Farm Roundabout at around 10.15am on March 3 when police first tried to get him to pull over.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said that when he didn't stop, the officer followed and watched as he accelerated and crossed between lanes.

"The defendant drove through a red light and continued on to the roundabout," Mr Pallister told the court. …

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