A drink-driver nearly killed two police officers and caused £50,000 of damage to a patrol car after he deliberately smashed into their vehicle while travelling at 90mph on the A45, a court heard.
James Tweed, aged 23, of The Rise, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, embarked on a “terrifying and dangerous” drive through the middle of the town following a row with his girlfriend on September 28.
Northampton Crown Court heard that Tweed, who works as a Tesco delivery driver, was spotted in the St Andrew’s Road area at about 5.30am driving a Fiat Punto at a high speed.
Jonathan Cox, prosecuting, said Tweed was seen travelling on the wrong side of the road around blind bends and through red traffic lights.
A BMWX5 police car, containing two officers, followed Tweed’s car onto the A45 towards Wellingborough and they travelled alongside him in the nearside lane.
Mr Cox said Tweed’s car was travelling at speeds of up to 100mph and two police patrol cars attempted to “box his vehicle in” to try to stop him.
Mr Cox said: “The defendant was sticking his middle finger in the air at police officers and was seen texting on his phone with no hands on the steering wheel.”
Tweed deliberately swerved his car towards the central reservation and hard against the police car which caused it to flip over onto its roof and come to a rest on the verge.
Mr Cox said both officers said they “thought they were going to die” in the crash due to the high speeds involved. One of the officers suffered a ruptured shoulder and is undergoing intense physiotherapy. Mr Cox said the officer was also suffering from flashbacks as he initially thought his colleague was dead.
The other police officer, who was driving the vehicle, suffered some muscle spasms in his spine and bruising to his knee. Despite the fact the crash caused one of the wheels of the Fiat Punto to fall off, Tweed continued driving and tried to ram the rear of three more police cars trying to box him in.
Once the vehicle was finally brought to a halt, officers had to taser Tweed to gain his compliance as he was still thrashing out at the police. A blood sample taken from Tweed showed an alcohol reading of 118mg per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80.
Maxine Krone, defending, said Tweed accepted his behaviour was “appalling” and that he acted irrationally when he was drunk. Ms Krone said he had worked for Tesco for five years and the supermarket chain had not dismissed him but offered him a “career break” as they rated him so highly.
Tweed was sentenced to two months in prison for assault and 16 months for dangerous driving, to be served consecutively. He also received 12 months and eight months for two charges of actual bodily harm, to be served concurrently.
Judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said it was one of the most serious cases of dangerous driving he had ever come across.
Judge Mayo said: “You drove in a terrifying and dangerous way through the middle of Northampton at speeds of close to the maximum the car could do at 100mph.
“The police officers were only trying to stop you and you swerved into their car at 90mph. It must have been a horrific and terrifying incident for them. You caused £50,000 of damage to the police car and it was selfish and stupid behaviour.”