A disqualified driver who was chased the WRONG WAY down a motorway at 110mph before crashing into a police car has been jailed.
James Honey, from Accrington, was spotted by police on the M6 in Cumbria using a stolen Seat Leon car at 1.30am on July 29, a court heard.
When officers tried to stop the 25-year-old he ‘panicked’ and fled down the M6 towards Lancashire at speeds reaching 100mph.
Craig MacGregor, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court how officers tried to stop Honey using stinger devices, however he avoided them by turning on the M55 towards Blackpool.
The court heard that Honey then ‘very quickly’ performed a ‘u-turn’ and travelled back along the M55 in the WRONG direction.
He then turned back onto the M6 and again drove the wrong way down the northbound carriageway reaching speeds of 110mph.
Mr McGregor said a ‘significant number’ of police vehicles and the force helicopter were called to the area and officers stopped traffic heading northbound at Junction 31 near Preston using a rolling roadblock.
When Honey approached the roadblock he was seen ‘waving from side to side’ on the motorway before trying to escape down the hardshoulder.
However his efforts were thwarted by ‘courageous and diligent’ police officer PC Matthew Burn who cut across his path and ‘rammed’ into his car.
The court heard that Honey tried to flee the scene and hide in a bush but was tackled to the ground by officers and ruptured his tendons and ligaments.
Mr MacGregor told the court that Honey tried to blame a female passenger in the car and denied being the driver.
He told officers: “I wasn’t driving. The driver is still down there.”
Honey, of Ascot Way, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance, failing to stop after an accident and all while in beach of a suspended prison sentence.
He was jailed for 23 months, disqualified from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended re-test.
'It was sheer panic'
Mark Stuart, defending, said there was ‘no justifiable explanation’ for Honey’s actions.
He told the court: “This was driving from Cumbria to Lancashire at high speeds followed by a dangerous manoeuvre no doubt on the M55 and M6.
“There’s no justifiable explanation but the defendant knew that he was disqualified and panicked upon seeing the police.
“It was sheer panic. Once he got himself into this mess he couldn’t get out of it.
“The defendant himself suffered a little bit of summary justice. As he ran off he was brought to the ground by police and as a consequence ruptured his tendons and ligaments.
“He is still on crutches today but knows he has brought it all upon himself.”
The court heard that in a letter to the Judge, Honey said: “I feel I have let all my family down at this moment. I’m sorry. This is not me. I hate life in jail.”
'Miracle that nobody suffered serious injury'
Judge Mark Brown said it was a ‘miracle’ that nobody was seriously hurt and told Honey to ‘grow up’.
Sentencing, he said: “This is an extremely serious case of dangerous driving. It’s harder to envisage a more serious case of it’s type. It’s something of a miracle that nobody did suffer serious injury.
“You come from a very decent and hard working family and your family think highly of you.
“It’s very clear that they are shocked and in complete disbelief at your conduct in relation to these offences.
“You are 25 years old and it’s about time that you started to grow up.
“Offences of dangerous driving are often committed by young adolescent males and at 25 you are probably beyond that stage and you should know far better.”
Judge Brown also praised PC Burn for his actions.
He said: “There’s no doubt in my judgement that PC Burn acted with considerable courage and diligence and he is to be commended for that.”