Jailed: Driver trying to flee police smashed into elderly Oswestry couple's bungalow
An elderly Oswestry couple had to be re-housed temporarily after a driver desperately trying to flee police reversed at speed into their bungalow, a court heard.
The force of the impact meant that the gas supply at their home was severed when the Ford Focus driven by panicking ex-soldier David Whiteside crashed into the side wall of the property.
Whiteside, who has been jailed for 22 months, had been reversing towards a police car for the second time but missed and instead struck the bungalow in Unicorn Road, Oswestry, where the housebound wife lived with her husband.
The vehicle was lifted into the air by the crash and landed next to to police car with significant rear impact damage, said Anya Horwood, prosecuting.
The incident began on May 10 this year when two police officers were on plain clothes mobile patrol duty in an operation to prevent street drug dealing.
The officers saw a grey Ford Focus matching the description of a car they had been alerted to and stopped it in Unicorn Road. As they approached on foot they saw Whiteside was the driver and he suddenly reversed towards the police car, colliding with it and forcing one officer to jump out of the way.
“The other officer repeatedly told Whiteside to stop the car but he ignored them and drove forward and he had to move out of the way to prevent being injured,” Miss Horwood told Liverpool Crown Court.
It was after Whiteside was again told by police to stop that he reversed and struck the bungalow.
Despite the damage to the Focus he then drove off at speed and into the town centre ignoring the 30mph speed limit before abandoning it about half a mile away. Enquiries revealed that he had been seen going into the nearby Morrisons supermarket where he was found hiding and was arrested.
Whiteside refused to give a saliva sample for drug testing and it was found that he had no driving licence and was uninsured.
When interviewed he said he had got the train from Liverpool to Oswestry to visit a friend and had test driven a Focus he was thinking of buying but was not the driver at the time of the incident.
Miss Horwood told the court that at the time 28-year-old Whiteside was on bail for dangerous driving in Norris Green, Liverpool. That occurred on October 5 last year when he was driving a silver Ford Ka over the speed limit while crossing in front of a police car at a junction.
Claire Jones, defending, said that Whiteside, of Haweswater Close, Tower Hill, Kirkby, “has shown insight into his behaviour and knows he has to change it.
She said he had panicked in Oswestry and had not initially known police officers were involved as they were in plain clothes in a car with tinted windows.
He had come out of the Army with mental health problems and post traumatic stress disorder. His best friend had died in a car crash before he was posted to Germany and he unfortunately did not seek help but self-medicated with alcohol and cannabis, she said.
“This escalated out of control and he committed offence after offence.”
She said that the defendant, who appeared via video link, has not been to prison before and he was making the most of his time there and planned to move in with his aunt in Runcorn when freed.
Whiteside pleaded guilty to the Oswestry matters involving dangerous driving, criminal damage, failing to stop after an accident and driving without insurance and a licence.
Jailing him for a total of 22 months and banning him from driving for three years 11 months Judge Norman Wright said that the Liverpool offences involved him driving along residential streets in a police pursuit while children were in the area.
In Oswestry his driving had involved “some jeopardy to the police officers who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck … and his intent and determination could be gleaned by the damage not just to the police vehicle but to the house concerned.”
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