Have-a-go hero helps stop driver after Burnley car chase drama

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A DRIVER who led police on a “dangerous” car chase through busy Burnley streets before being rugby-tackled to the ground by a passer-by has been spared jail.

Daniel Thomas (23) smashed into several vehicles, a house and rammed a police car in the pursuit through the Briercliffe Road area, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Thomas, of Leamington Avenue, Burnley, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failure to stop and driving with no insurance.

Sentencing, His Honour Judge Leeming QC said: “I have seen the video of you driving a couple of miles round numerous streets in Burnley.

“It was very bad and dangerous.

“A very public-spirited and brave member of public a police officer. He should be commended.”

Thomas was given 40 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, for dangerous driving. He was banned from driving for two years, given a 12-month supervision order and ordered to go on a thinking skills programme.

He was ordered to pay costs and compensation fees totalling £1,100.

The court was shown police CCTV footage of the chase, which took place at 8-30 a.m. on Monday, October 31st.

A squad car tailed Thomas, who was driving a blue Peugeot, before he spotted the officer, and accelerated up Ruskin Street.

The footage showed Thomas failing to stop at several junctions, and narrowly avoiding a crash with two other cars, then hitting a car and a parked car, before smashing into a house.

He tried to ram a police vehicle, but was blocked in, and an officer dragged him out if the car. As the constable struggled with Thomas, passer-by James Riley rugby tackled the defendant to the ground.

The court heard two women were injured in the collision, and the officer suffered cuts, bruising and an injured wrist.

The defendant’s solicitor, also called Mr Daniel Thomas, said the defendant pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

He said: “He has accepted what he has done, and the idiocy of what he has done.

“He simply panicked. It was a moment of pure madness. All this for the sake of no insurance.”

He added that the defendant had not gone above 40mph during the chase.