Runaway driver in high-speed police chase calls 999 on mobile to demand pursuit be aborted

The runaway driver demanded police back off as he had a child in the car
The runaway driver demanded police back off as he had a child in the car (PA Archive)
14:11pm, Sun 02 Aug 2020
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A driver who called 999 to order officers to stop following him as he led them on a high-speed pursuit into a city is facing jail after he admitted driving dangerously.

Samuel Birch, 30, told call handlers he had a child in his car and threatened to drive off a bridge if they did not abort the chase, Northumbria Police said.

Birch drove on the wrong side of the road, ignored red lights and held his phone out of the window to film the pursuit into Newcastle in March.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop and two unrelated counts of malicious communications when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court, police said.

A force spokesman said officers signalled for Birch to stop when they saw him speeding in his silver Vauxhall Corsa on March 29.

But Birch, who was wanted for outstanding offences, refused to stop and instead accelerated.

As he headed towards Newcastle city centre, he dialled 999 to order officers to “abort” the pursuit, claiming to have a “minor” in the car.

Birch was stopped moments later outside St James’s Park, where officers found that he was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Following the guilty pleas, Pc Darren Lant said: “From start to finish, this was an appalling piece of driving that could have ended with a serious collision if Birch continued to drive into the city centre.

“He was speeding when he was spotted by officers and, knowing he was already wanted by police, he decided to take his chances in his pursuit.

“His behaviour behind the wheel after that was atrocious and he put lives at risk through his reckless attempts to avoid police.”

The officer added: “People like Birch don’t deserve the right to be behind the wheel and he now faces a spell behind bars when he returns to court later this year.”

Birch, of Ashington, was released on bail and banned from driving until his sentencing hearing on December 21.

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