A BRAND new police patrol car with just 400 miles on the clock was rammed by a pick-up truck driver who feared officers would discover he was banned from the roads.
Audio from in-car cameras capture a tongue-in-cheek discussion between motorway officers saying they hoped disqualified driver Chad Harrison wouldn’t shunt their high-spec BMW X5 – delivered just days earlier – as they attempted to pull him over.
However, just moments after Harrison stopped on a single-track lane near the A449 in Stourbridge he did exactly that, reversing his flat-bed truck into the 4×4 twice and causing significant damage before speeding off.
The 27-year-old’s attempt to disable the 13-plate BMW failed, though, as PCs Dal Nijjar and Gareth Phillips pursued him for almost 20 miles until he crashed through the gates of Hunts Mill Nature Reserve off Coopers Bank Road in Dudley.
West Midlands Police’s force helicopter monitored Harrison’s movements as he ran into woodland – and they were able to direct officers on the ground to the spot he was lying low in bushes.
Harrison, from Dudley Road in Kingswinford, admitted dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop for police and damaging eight other vehicles during the pursuit.
And at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday (July 16) he was jailed for 19 months and handed a seven-year driving ban.
West Midlands Police Acting Sergeant Robert Leaver, from the Central Motorways Police Group (CMPG) said: “Harrison has an appalling record of driving going back many years; on this occasion his reckless driving in a large commercial vehicle caused near carnage and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
“He deliberately drove at a patrol car, injuring the officers, and then led police on a long pursuit during which he strayed onto the wrong side of carriageways and struck at least eight other vehicles. The truck was in a poor condition and several of the cars were damaged after being struck by one of the truck’s stabiliser booms which protruded out from its side.
“The public need protecting from people who drive in this manner and put other road users in danger; he’s rightly been jailed and should he be tempted to take to the roads at any stage over the next seven years he’s likely to find himself back behind bars.”
Patrol units were in the Stourbridge area on the evening of April 18 searching for a reported stolen vehicle when they spotted Harrison in a tired looking recovery truck.
Officers were instantly suspicious of his behaviour behind the wheel – and that intuition proved spot on because as they tried pulling him over he slammed the truck into reverse and ploughed into their BMW.
Harrison caused around £5,000 in damage to the X5 plus thousands more to the other vehicles he later struck.
Act Sgt Leaver, added: “The police and courts view driving whilst disqualified very seriously – these people have been banned for a reason, to protect fellow road users, and adhering to bans is not optional.
“The BMW patrol car had only been with the force for a matter of days before the incident – we had some explaining to do when it was taken into our fleet mechanics for extensive repairs so early in its police service!”
Watch the in-car police video here: http://youtu.be/mFVo7sUgEYc