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Banned Darlington driver led police on second high-speed chase weeks after first arrest

By David Huntley

A banned driver who led police on two dangerous high speed chases within weeks of each other has been jailed.

Conner Ryan was involved in a police pursuit in the early hours of March 12, this year, in County Durham, and even drove on the opposite carriageway of the A1(M) in order to get away. Following his arrest, he was released under investigation, but a month later, on April 13, he was back on the roads, and once again led police on another dangerous high speed chase, this time through Darlington.

Ryan, of Hammond Drive, Darlington, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Wednesday, via link from HMP Durham, to be sentenced for two counts of driving whilst disqualified, two counts of dangerous driving, and summary charges of driving without insurance and driving with excess alcohol. He pleaded guilty to the charges during the hearing.

Read more: Black Lives Matter supporter jailed along with two more from counter group for city centre riot

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said on March 12, police were on patrol in the Ferryhill area of County Durham at around 1.15am when they saw Ryan, 23, driving a Suzuki Vitara. He said: "Officers saw the vehicle, which was covered in mud and had no lights on. There were two occupants in the vehicle and it had no registration." Ryan failed to stop and a high-speed chase ensued.

Mr Dryden said: "The passenger of the vehicle seemed to be filming the incident on a mobile phone before the vehicle drove into a Jet garage at Chilton and then headed back towards Ferryhill." Ryan then drove over a stinger device which had been deployed, but he carried on, and began driving on the wrong side of the road.

The vehicle's tyres were becoming more deflated as Ryan hit the Gipsy Lane area before he drove towards the A1(M) with no lights on. The court heard that Ryan drove the wrong way round a roundabout before driving south on the northbound carriageway of the A1(M). Due to the dangerousness of his driving, the police temporarily halted the chase, but Ryan was later seen by other officers driving the wrong way up a slip road, before turning back down towards the A1(M).

Mr Dryden said that police eventually decided to carry out a "tactical contact" manoeuvre. Ryan was then seen jumping into the back seat of his vehicle before police arrested him.

Following his arrest, Ryan was released under investigation, but he was back behind the wheel on April 13, this year. At around 2.40am, he was involved in another police chase, this time in the Darlington area, where he was seen driving a Mitsubishi Outlander at speeds of up to 80mph. Mr Dryden said: "The defendant lost control of the vehicle and it spun 180 degrees and mounted a footpath. Males got out of the vehicle and the defendant got out of the driver seat. There was a short foot pursuit before the defendant was arrested."

Following his arrest, Ryan, who has a "bad record" for driving offences, provided a positive breath sample for excess alcohol.

Kate Barnes, defending, said Ryan had developed an "unenviable record" by the age of 14 and said he was now trying to "improve his lifestyle" as result of his "terrible mistakes". She said: “There was an element of mixing with the wrong people, but he takes full responsibility. The improvements he sought to make was the resumption of a relationship with his partner and two children. He’s most deeply sorry for the position he now finds himself in." She added: “He has a great deal on the outside now and feels deeply sorry he’s missing out on all that."

Sentencing Ryan, Judge Ray Singh said the offences were deliberate acts of driving dangerously on two separate occasions when he should not even have been driving. The judge described it as, “a shocking and dangerous piece of driving, so shocking and dangerous that the police aborted the chase against you.”

Ryan was jailed for 28 months and was banned from driving for six years and two months.

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