An unlicensed driver was ‘very lucky not to kill half-a-dozen people’ after speeding on a busy main road before ‘careering’ through a red light junction and crashing into a tree, a court heard.
Waqar Hanif, of Cravenwood, Accrington, had earlier lied to his sister about being insured and legal to drive in order to borrow her Vauxhall Astra, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The 22-year-old, who only held a provisional license after having his previous one revoked, was travelling at speed along Blackburn Road in Oswaldtwistle towards the junction at Church.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how a witness saw Hanif in the Astra chasing after a taxi doing 50mph in a 40mph zone and on one occasion they both went on the wrong side of the road to overtake cars round a bollard.
Mr Parker said as Hanif approached the junction near Bridge Street there were two stationary lanes of traffic at the red lights.
The newsagent worker then speeded down the wrong side of the road to turn right, however in order to a avoid collision with a car he crossed the junction before crashing into a tree on a grass verge.
Mr Parker told the court Hanif and an unknown passenger then fled from the scene but he later returned after being contacted by police. The taxi driver was not identified.
Kevin Donnelly, defending, told the court how Hanif had his licence revoked when he was 18 for driving without insurance and was ‘in the process of reacquiring it’ when the incident happened on October 1 last year at around 6.15pm.
He said: “He clearly shouldn’t have been driving and was clearly driving too fast. I’m not able to comment on the interaction with him and the taxi but it was a period of erratic driving and overtaking in unsafe circumstances. He careered across the junction and it could have resulted in the potential loss of live.”
Hanif pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and report it to police, and driving without a licence and insurance.
He was jailed for 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £300 costs.
Judge Ian Leeming QC said he was ‘very luck not to kill half-a-dozen people’.
Sentencing, he said: “I sentence you on the basis you were either in pursuit of the taxi in anger or racing it. What you did was extremely dangerous and shocking.”